BEIJING (AP) – A public outcry has been raised over the plight of a 41-year-old woman who’s considering an illegal abortion at 8 months because the child would violate China’s restrictive birth policy and would cost her husband his government job.
Members of the public have been phoning local officials in the couple’s Yunnan province community to inquire about the case, and an online travel service reportedly has offered the husband a position if he loses his job as a policeman.
The case has rekindled debate over whether employment in the public sector should be used to enforce the policy that limits couples to one child in cases where both husband and wife have at least one sibling.
The woman, who spoke on condition that she be identified only by her surname, Chen, said in a telephone interview Monday that the couple felt under pressure to abort their second child to keep her husband’s job with local police.
Wen Xueping, a family planning official in Yunnan’s Chuxiong prefecture, said the couple will not be forced to abort the baby but have been warned of the consequences of having it. Couples who violate the job policy face hefty fines and – if they have government jobs – face being sacked.
Wen said members of the public have been calling his offices to inquire about the couple, whose case has garnered much attention on China’s social media.
The state-owned news website The Paper said the web travel service CTrip has offered the man a job if he loses his position on the police force.
Many critics are calling for an end to the one-child policy altogether, saying that China cannot afford to be an aging society. They say that taking away a family’s livelihood is too draconian a punishment – especially for a family that will now have two children to raise. Some observers have said the couple should have obeyed the one-child policy and should not expect any exemption.