Pat Robertson Supports Forced Abortions in China, But Opposes Voluntary Abortions in America

by | Apr 28, 2001

In a CNN interview on April 16, 2001, [Pat] Robertson, the founder of the Christian Coalition and head of the Christian Broadcasting Network, was asked how he reconciles his support for close ties with China with Beijing’s ruthless one-child policy, which has forced unwanted abortions on tens of millions of women. “I don’t agree with […]

In a CNN interview on April 16, 2001, [Pat] Robertson, the founder of the Christian Coalition and head of the Christian Broadcasting Network, was asked how he reconciles his support for close ties with China with Beijing’s ruthless one-child policy, which has forced unwanted abortions on tens of millions of women.

“I don’t agree with it,” Robertson said. “But … they’ve got 1.2 billion people, and they don’t know what to do. If every family over there was allowed to have three or four children, the population would be completely unsustainable…. They’re doing what they have to do.”

It would be hard to overstate the moral bankruptcy of those words. China’s population-control laws are a horror. Couples are forced to sign “one-child” agreements, and may not have that child until they are issued a government quota. Couples who evade the rule are heavily fined, publicly humiliated, and often sterilized. Women found to be pregnant without a permit are forced to undergo abortion. Often they are in their eighth or ninth month.

At times, the government does not even scruple at infanticide: In a widely reported case last year, officials seized a baby who was born alive despite an attempted abortion and drowned it before its parents’ eyes.

When pro-lifers expressed shock that Robertson could excuse such things, he issued a “clarification:” He repeated that he personally opposes abortion, but was unwilling to fault Beijing [!]: The Chinese, he said, “will face a tragic dilemma of massive proportions if they permit their population to explode.”

There is a reason Robertson is so mealymouthed: He has invested millions of dollars in Chinese cable and internet operations. His partner in one broadcasting deal is the communist government itself. To protect his financial interests, He depends the regime’s goodwill, and to win it, he is apparently willing to say anything — even to defend China’s savage destruction of reproductive freedom.

It is a myth that China is too crowded; its population density is one-fifth that of Taiwan, one-200th that of Manhattan. China suffers not from too many people but from too little liberty. If Robertson doesn’t understand that, his ignorance is shocking. If he does, he is a contemptible hypocrite. Either way, he is a disgrace, and conservatives should be the ones to say so.

Jeff Jacoby is a columnist for The Boston Globe. This is an excerpt from his weekly newsletter, Arguable, and is reprinted with permission. To subscribe to Arguable at no charge, click here.

The views expressed above represent those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of the editors and publishers of Capitalism Magazine. Capitalism Magazine sometimes publishes articles we disagree with because we think the article provides information, or a contrasting point of view, that may be of value to our readers.

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