Sexual Health Sunday: Seeking Asylum

National emblem of the People's Republic of China
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Every Sunday I’ll highlight an issue relating to Sexual Health. This week I write about Mei Fun Wong, a Chinese woman seeking asylum in the United States.

Chinese Woman Seeks Asylum In The U.S. Over Forced Birth Control | The Frisky.

I can’t even begin to write this post without prematurely pulling out my soapbox from the pantry and standing tall and mighty firmly atop said box.

This woman, Mei Fun Wong, was forced to undergo an IUD insertion 10 years ago in the People’s Republic of China. After the procedure she complained that the IUD caused her pain and requested its removal. No one would listen to her. She went out and found a private physician who would remove the device from her body and she thought that she’d rid herself of the device forever. WRONG. During a physical exam the doctor realized that the IUD wasn’t where it was supposed to be and alerted authorities. Wong was thrown in prison until she would agree to have it re-inserted. Brave as she is, Wong attempted to flee the country but was caught, fined, and jailed. Unnecessary? Maybe.

Nine years after her ordeal she made it to New York City and again, sought a doctor’s help in removing the IUD. I think she’s made it pretty clear at this point that she doesn’t want the thing. This is where it gets juicy, Wong and her son are in the United States illegally and has been through the immigration system for the past nine years. She’s asking that they be granted asylum from her native government’s insistence on policing her body. Pause and consider the hilarity of this request. She’s asking the U.S. government to protect her from having her reproductive choice taken away from her. This in a country where women are constantly having to defend their bodies (think: abortion, rape, etc.)

Let’s get to the bottom of the issue; this is an issue of reproductive rights. Most times when we think ‘reproductive rights’ we think about abortion, contraceptives, prophylactics, etc.- the right not to reproduce. In Mei Fun’s case, she wants the ability to reproduce or the ability to choose whether or not her body must undergo physical pain. Why isn’t this issue plastered across the Feminist blogs?

I leave you with this thought; why are we still debating the amount of choice that a person has over their body. I’ll be anxiously awaiting your comments.

2 Comments Add yours

  1. Another similar story I heard was about a women in Florida who wanted to have a vaginal birth, but her doctors did not agree with this choice. Therefore, she decided to work with a midwife and give birth at home. During labor, she was dehydrated, and her and midwife went to the hospital to get and IV and rehydrate the women. The doctors again pushed for a C section, but still she refused and escaped the hospital and returned home. The pregnancy was coming along fine at home, but the hospital received a court order to force the woman to have a c section. She was then taken back to the hospital and the procedure was done, against her will. Again, another case that reproductive freedom isn’t just about NOT having a baby, but how you choose to have a baby.

    1. Ashley,

      Wow! That story is intense. I can’t even pretend to comprehend the whole ‘how you choose to have a baby’ side of things. It’s just crazy that no matter which way you turn, you can find endless instances of women’s right to their bodies in danger.

      Thanks for your thoughts!


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