The media's hijacking of pro-life activist Chen Guangcheng's message

Whatever fate awaits pro-life activist Chen Guangcheng, we know two things for sure: The Chinese tyrants will continue to force women to kill their wanted children.

And President Barack Obama, who has ramped up the campaign fiction that Republicans have declared a "war on women," will continue the detente with the real war on women, in Communist China, where real blood is being shed in a fanatical crusade against mothers and their children.

Happy Mother's Day.

As of this writing, Chen's future is uncertain, but not so uncertain are the barbaric measures the Chinese government takes against women who choose to exercise their reproductive rights by having children. Kerry Kennedy, president of the Robert F. KennedyCenter for Justice and Human Rights, described the incredible measures in The Huffington Post:

A woman who defies the government by having more than one child "can be fined, and so can her family and neighbors. She can be beaten, ostracized or detained. The belongings of her entire family can be confiscated, their houses bulldozed, and her husband, parents and siblings held hostage until she turns herself in. When she gives in to authorities, she faces a state-ordered abortion — with no regard for her health risks or religious beliefs, or viability of her child — and forced insertion of an IUD. Even further, under Chinese law, a woman may be sterilized by the state if she has a second child, refuses IUD (intrauterine device) insertion, or fails to appear for one of the quarterly uterus inspections with the population police.

"According to the government of China itself, 38 percent of women of child-bearing age have been sterilized, and China performs 35,000 abortions a day, often conducted under coercion. The vast majority are gender selective, as boys continue to be favored over girls. … One of China's lesser-publicized tactics is to post a woman's name on a bulletin board in her community under the heading 'birth: not allowed.' It's a practice that works by enlisting her neighbors and friends as deputy family planning thugs, empowered to monitor her reproductive decisions and notify the police if she becomes pregnant."

Like rape, forced abortion is perhaps the most hideous violation of a woman's bodily integrity, not to mention her freedom and dreams. And yet it doesn't seem to be much of a priority for President Obama, the beneficiary of Planned Parenthood campaign munificence.

Obama, for example, chose not to mention the vile practice in an April 6 speech at a White House Forum on Women and the Economy, a speech in which he enumerated all the other injustices committed against women. Last August, Vice President Joe Biden betrayed the administration's ho-hum approach to the practice in a speech at Sichuan University in Chengdu. "(Your) policy has been one which I fully understand — I'm not second-guessing — of one child per family."

Interestingly, the administration is getting pummeled more for its "missteps" in the handling of Chen's flight to the American Embassy in Beijing than for its tolerance of forced abortions and sterilizations. Certainly Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton and theU.S. State Department can be judged adversely for the still not fully understood actions that resulted in Chen's return to China's dominion. It is a sad day for a nation that prides itself as a beacon of liberty. But the administration's bungling of the affair comes second to what amounts to its lip service — at best — condemnation of forced abortion and sterilization.

More appalling are population control adherents who obliquely suggest that China's one-child policy might be the correct one because "breeders" are condemning Earth to ultimate destruction. As if the way to control population growth is to control women.

Meanwhile, the media will continue to refer to Chen as a "human rights activist." Yes, he is that, but more. To describe him simply as a human rights activist fogs the essence of Chen's struggle to end forced abortions and sterilization. Calling Chen a "blind activist," as if he were an advocate for the sightless, also is a euphonic, simplistic mislabeling.

The truth is, Chen is a pro-life activist. He deserves to be called what he is, if not in recognition of the righteousness of his cause, then at least for the sake of simple accuracy.

This column appeared in the Chicago Tribune on May 8. 

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    Chicago Tribune contributing op-ed columnist and author of forthcoming historical novel, "Madness: The War of 1812." Reporter, editor and columnist for Chicago Sun-Times and Chicago Daily News. Freelance writer and editor.

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