Times Buries Mention of Forced Abortions in China

Joseph Kahn's story about Beijing's latest brutal crackdown in the name of population control doesn't mention forced abortions until the fifth paragraph, relying on euphemisms instead.

The Times typically portrays the abortion debate in ways favorable to the pro-abortion movement, such as avoiding the straightforward, but powerfully anti-abortion term "partial-birth abortion." So when a story risks putting abortion in a negative light, like one involving China's policy of forced abortion for population control, it's hard to locate the word at all.

Joseph Kahn reported Thursday from Beijing on a backlash against China's latest brutal crackdown - "Chinese Police Arrest 28 in Riots Against Family Planning Laws."

"The police in southwestern China arrested 28 people for instigating riots over family planning controls over the weekend, but officials were also dispatched to the affected regions to 'deal with complaints' about the area's strict measures to enforce limits on family size, state news media said Wednesday.

But it took Kahn four more paragraphs to note, at the end of a sentence, that the actual "strict measures" include forced abortion (nothing "pro-choice" about it). Before that, Kahn employed similar euphemisms.

"Seven towns in a rural part of the Guangxi autonomous region erupted in violence over heavy fines and other measures to impose tighter family planning controls in the area, the official Xinhua news agency said in its first report about the unrest that began late last week."


"The unrest stemmed from an unusually intensive two-month campaign to collect steep fines and prevent births over quota in Guangxi, a part of the country that had loosely enforced population control measures in the past, the news agency said. According to accounts posted on the Internet by villagers and witnesses, officials were requiring health checks for women and forcing pregnant women who lacked approval to give birth to undergo abortions."