Is victim of forced abortion in China eligible for asylum in the U.S?

U.S. asylum law makes special provision for victims of forced abortion.


I am from China, where I worked in the same factory as my husband in Beijing. While working one day I was forced to submit to a gynecological examination and found out, to my surprise, that I was pregnant. I wanted to keep the baby but my boss told me I would be fired and my husband demoted if I didn’t immediately abort. I was not even allowed to consult with my husband. I felt that I had no choice and let the medical unit do the abortion. I left China soon after that and entered the United States by walking across the Mexican border. Can I get asylum here?


A person who was forced to abort a pregnancy in a country that has a coercive population control program, like China, is considered a refugee under U.S. asylum law. (See I.N.A. Section 101(a)(42)(B).) A forced abortion can take various forms. The most common scenario is when women are physically taken for an abortion against their will.

No countries are specifically named in the I.N.A. as having coercive population control programs. Most of these types of asylum cases come from China, which has a well known coercive population control policy.

If you present credible testimony that the pressure used to get you to abort your fetus was “force”, you will be considered a refugee even though physical force was not used. To be found credible, you must testify in detail and with consistency.

Officers and Judges will listen to your testimony about your economic situation and the fact that you were not allowed to consult with your husband. If you and your husband could not have supported yourselves after being fired and demoted, there is a good chance that the threats will be construed as “force”. You should explain this on your application for asylum and at your interview or hearing.

You should also explain how the threats made you feel — since you wanted to keep your baby, explain why your boss’s threats caused you to agree to the abortion. Detail how you felt forced. If the fact that you had to make the decision alone added to feeling force, detail that as well.

It is important that the officer or judge believe that your abortion was forced. To help you make this clear, consider a consultation with an attorney experienced in asylum law.

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