Washington Post columnist asks why “abortion rights supporters” are silent on Chen

By Dave Andrusko

Rep. Chris Smith (R-NJ) (R) and Chinese dissident and president of ChinaAid Bob Fu (L) listen to Chen Guangcheng on the phone during a hearing before the Global Health, and Human Rights Subcommittee of House Foreign Affairs Committee May 15, 2012

The sound of silence is not just the title of a 1960s Simon and Garfunkel song. It also accurately describes the conspicuous-by-its-absence response of “pro-choice” partisans to the wretched treatment of pro-life human rights activist Chen Guangcheng.

But, to be fair, what’s the payoff for the Abortion Establishment in denouncing real-life forced abortions in China when they can conjure up an imaginary ‘war against women’ here at home? Ignore the real, fan the flames about a fantasy.

Give them credit, sort of. There is a kind of consistency at work, as revealed by the silence of the Abortion Establishment and the calculated indifference of the Obama Administration: politics is everything. Fortunately, for the rest of us, matters of human rights and principle are more important than “rousing the base.”

Melinda Henneberger is a columnist for the Washington Post. Bless her heart, she provided a compelling overview today of the mesmerizing testimony presented this week before the House Committee on Foreign Affairs subcommittee on Africa, Global Health and Human Rights.

Henneberger begins with the story of Mei Shunping, who was forced into having five abortions. That fifth “was the saddest day of my life,” she told the subcommittee. Henneberger then provides an illuminating contrast.

“The cause that human rights activist Chen Guangcheng has so long championed is often glossed over in this country, where we tend to focus on how cool it is that a blind guy scaled a fence and escaped his captors like some kind of action hero. But Mei spelled out the gory particulars for the House Committee on Foreign Affairs subcommittee on Africa, Global Health and Human Rights.”

I’ve reproduced her testimony [“Victim of Forced Abortion in China”]. As Henneberger writes, on that “worst day of her life,” Mei was alone–her husband had been tossed in jail—and there was no one to lean on as she collapsed in pain after “the procedure” (Henneberger’s words). Mei told the subcommittee

“My young son didn’t know what was happening and kept crying for his father. I didn’t know what to do and could only hold my son and cry with him. Even now, when I think of all this, my heart shudders and the pain throbs.”

You will want to read Henneberger’s story, so let me conclude with a couple of thoughts about our government’s response and the Abortion Lobby’s missing in action posture.

Chai Ling, herself an escaped dissident and the founder of “All Girls Allowed,” also testified. Chai told the subcommittee, chaired by pro-life and human rights champion Chris Smith (R-NJ),

“Several days ago an American official casually told the New York Times, ‘The days of blowing up the relationship [with China] over a single guy are over.’ It grieves me to hear Chen dismissively referred to as ‘a single guy.’ He is one man, it’s true. But he is a symbol — a hero — in the eyes of women, children and the poor in China.”

Is it an accident that the pro-abortion Obama Administration is so weak-kneed about forced abortion? Or that it not only restored funding for the UNPFA, which has been a cheerleader and facilitator for China’s birth-quota program, which relies heavily on coerced abortion, but increased the amount?

Finally, Henneberger ends by pointing out that it is pro-lifers [“those who oppose abortion”] who’ve provided most of Chen’s support. “But if the brutal oppression of women robbed of any semblance of ‘choice’ isn’t something we can all agree on, I don’t know what would be,” she writes.

So, why have abortion advocates been struck deaf and dumb? The explanation, of course, is not just that these atrocities are taking place thousands of miles away. And clearly they do not favor coerced abortion, although I’ve been struck by how many times I see reader responses to newspaper stories which take the line that what China does is its business.

But having the word “abortion” and “human rights” in the same sentence strikes too close to home. Better silence in the face of unbelievable brutality and cruelty than to even entertain the thought that there is another party whose human rights are abridged every time an abortion occurs, whether it takes place in a rural village in China or an urban abortion clinic here at home.

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