Forced abortions: North Korean’s vastly underreported human rights violation

By Dave Andrusko

A North Korean defector in 2017 forced to undergo abortion in detention. (UNTV)

Two years ago, we posted a nightmarish story based on the testimony of female defectors who were forcibly repatriated to North Korea and compelled to have abortions. The setting was an event titled “The Terrifying experience of forcibly Repatriated North Korean women.” The sponsors were the U.S. France, Japan, South Korea, Canada and the U.K.

Alas, there has been no improvement. Indeed, if anything, conditions have grown worse, according to Hollie McKay, a Fox News Digital staff reporter since 2007, in a story that ran under the headline,” North Korea’s forced abortions: The Hermit Kingdom’s underreported human rights abuses.”

The savagery inflicted by North Koreans on women who’ve defected to China or South Korea and been captured knows no bounds, according to experts whom McKay quoted.

“Terrifying reports from female defectors depict undergoing forced abortions after they fled to what they thought was freedom in China, only to be repatriated back to North Korea by authorities in China,” said Olivia Enos, Senior Policy Analyst for Asian Studies at The Heritage Foundation. “Other women from North Korea recount having aborted babies born alive or giving birth in ordinary prison camps only to have border guards smother or drown their babies before their very eyes.”

Enos said, “Babies are aborted without anesthesia. Some reported having soldiers jump on their stomach until the baby came out, others by having various instruments inserted, others still by having poisonous plants inserted in their vagina to kill the baby and induce labor.”

Added Dong Yon Kim, an analyst and journalist for Chosun News-Press and a former Air Force Officer for the Republic of Korea, “These [women] are treated like an animal and have been put through forced abortions and it is done in many ways.”

“Pregnant women can be made to lie on the ground. Then [guards] put a long and wide piece of wood on her stomach. They pick two people for the job. These two people could be the son of the woman, her husband or lover, or any relative. These men stand on top of the wooden board like a see-saw,” Kim said. “Using a burning iron is another method. The punisher carries a long piece of metal and lets it burn until red or yellow, then puts it into the pregnant woman. A woman can die from this punishment, and often, if she survives, she cannot walk properly.”

McKay’s story goes on and on with one terrible example of brutality and cruelty even worse than the one before. For example, Harry Kazianis, Senior Director of the Center for the National Interest and a North Korea expert, spoke about sadistic prison guards.

“Where this gets really barbaric is if the woman hides the pregnancy and wants to keep the baby – punishment is swift and heinous. If she is discovered, I have been told of accounts where the woman is killed as well as the baby,” he said, according to McKay. “I have also been told of accounts where the woman is tied to a tree, the baby is cut out of her stomach, shown the child before its throat is slit and then she is executed or left to bleed to death.”

Forced abortions in China have been known about ever since Steven W. Mosher wrote about it as far as the early 1980s, most famously in “Broken Earth: the Rural Chinese.” Knowledge of North Korean’s trafficking in the same viciousness is more recent.

“Experts that spoke to Fox News said China is complicit in the abuse, and have said in cases where involuntary abortions aren’t ordered, North Korean officials engage in outright infanticide,” McKay writes.

“International human rights experts and activists say there is more that can be done to put a stop to forced abortions — even in a very closed country such as North Korea.”

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