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China Probes Claim That Woman Was Forced to Abort 7-Month Fetus

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June 14 (Bloomberg) -- Chinese officials are investigating reports that a woman who was seven months pregnant was forced to have an abortion because she couldn’t pay a 40,000 yuan ($6,300) fine for violating the national one-child policy.

The Shaanxi provincial branch of China’s family-planning agency sent a team to investigate the claim after reports about it surfaced online, according to a statement released yesterday. The agency urged officials to “enforce the law civilly, and resolutely put an end to late-term induction of pregnancy.”

The allegations about the forced abortion sparked outrage on Chinese microblogging services about the methods used by local officials to control growth in the country’s population of 1.3 billion. The Communist Party has said in the past it may consider easing the policy as the size of China’s working-age population declines.

The woman, identified as 23-year-old Feng Jianmei, agreed to have the abortion after officials in Zhenping County repeatedly gave her “ideological and counseling services,” according to a statement published June 11 on the county family planning agency website. It said the abortion was done “in accordance with law.”

In a front-page article today, the state-run Global Times newspaper contradicted that account, saying that local officials detained Feng, blindfolded her and then forced her to sign an agreement to have the abortion. It quoted her husband, Deng Jiyuan.

Photos showing Feng lying in bed next to the dead baby were posted online a week after the abortion, the newspaper said.

To contact Bloomberg News staff for this story: Bloomberg News in Beijing at yzhao7@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Peter Hirschberg at phirschberg@bloomberg.net

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