Chinese prison officials have forced a pregnant inmate found guilty of transporting heroin to undergo an abortion so that she could be eligible for the death penalty, according to a report published on Wednesday, AFP/Yahoo! News reports.
Ma Weihua in January was arrested in Gansu province for transporting 56 ounces of heroin from Xinjiang province. Under China's criminal code, individuals convicted of trafficking that amount of heroin can be executed.
However, following Ma's arrest, prison doctors discovered during a routine physical exam that she was approximately seven weeks pregnant. Under Chinese law, pregnant women and people younger than age 18 cannot be executed.
Although Ma said she wanted to carry the pregnancy to term, officers from the anti-drug task force at the Chengguan police substation in February signed a consent form ordering an abortion "on her behalf," according to AFP/Yahoo! News.
The consent form stated that the substation director requested that Ma be forced to undergo the procedure because she was "uncooperative." The form also noted that Ma was given general anesthesia -- which put her to sleep -- instead of the local anesthetic usually used for early-term abortions, according to Ma's attorney Weng Weihua.
Forcing a woman to have an abortion is monstrous in itself (more so, I would argue, than a woman choosing to abort, though certainly conservatives may disagree). The death penalty angle is equally perverse - what's the rationale of the Chinese government here? That life is so precious, we must end it in order not to kill it? There isn't even a nugget of logic, however obscene, to mitigate the moral evil of such a policy.