Officials accused of forcing a seven-month pregnant mother to have an abortion in Northwest China's Shaanxi Province have been suspended from their posts pending further punishment, local government announced Thursday.
A statement issued by the Ankang city government said those suspended from their duties include Jiang Nenghai, director of the Zhenping county population and family planning bureau; Chen Pengyin, chief of Zengjia township government; and Long Chunlai, director of the township family planning office.
All face the possibility of criminal and disciplinary repercussions once facts of the case have been determined, the statement added.
Feng Jianmei, 23, was detained and forcibly taken to hospital for a poisonous injection by local family planning authorities on June 2 after her family failed to pay a 40,000-yuan ($6,320) fine for her second child, her family alleged.
The city government has called for a citywide inspection to prohibit late-term abortions from reoccurring to maintain the legitimate rights of pregnant women. It also offered an apology to Feng's family in the statement.
The provincial family planning commission said that Feng Jianmei's forced abortion had severely violated national and provincial policies and tarnished the image of family planning efforts.
Feng Yueju, the commission's director, vowed any officials found guilty of future forced abortions would face serious punishment, stressing that the right to life is at the core of family planning policies.
She added that efforts to control the birthrate should not be carried out to meet quotas set by higher authorities.
Uproar erupted online after the family uploaded graphic photos on June 11 showing Feng lying beside her dead female fetus.
The county family planning bureau had earlier stated Feng was not permitted to have a second child and that she agreed to have the abortion – a claim rejected by Feng's family.
"The Shaanxi commission came to investigate, but [the team] didn't even visit the hospital or contact any of us to ask questions," Deng Jiyuan, Feng's husband, told the Global Times Thursday.
"We are currently not considering asking for compensation. We just want justice and to see those who did this punished."
Statistics from the Ministry of Health's yearbook in 2010 showed 14.37 million women in China had abortions in accordance with the national family planning policy in 1983, making it the highest number in a single year since the policy was introduced in 1979.
An average of 7 million Chinese mothers have aborted their babies each year since 2000. The figure peaked in 2008 when 9.17 million mothers had their pregnancies terminated, the data revealed.
The family planning authority in Shaanxi province said on Thursday it will show no tolerance to officials who committed a "serious violation" by performing an abortion on a woman seven months pregnant. Full story
Authorities in northwest China's Shaanxi Province have launched an investigation into an instance of forced abortion, pledging that anyone found responsible will be punished according to relevant laws and regulations. Full story
National and local family planning authorities are investigating a case involving a seven-month pregnant woman in Northwest China's Shaanxi Province who was allegedly forced by the local government to abort her second child. Full story
A mother in Ankang, Shaanxi Province who was seven months pregnant was reportedly forced to undergo an abortion at the instruction of local family planning officials. Full story