Human Rights

Pregnant Chinese women need our help, but is “birth tourism” the answer?


What hating pregnancy and rampant Communism will get you.

Yesterday I came across this story at the LA Times about a “maternity hotel” in Chino Hills, California. In a suburban neighborhood, a mansion was turned into a kind of pregnant Holiday Inn for Chinese mothers hoping to give birth to American citizens.

As you know if you’ve read my recent columns on gendercide and forced abortion in India and China, “illegal” children in China are non-citizens, ineligible for education, health care, or employment. It makes sense that a couple might try to have their baby in another country, so that she’ll be a citizen of somewhere, and so that she will one day be able to come back here for schooling. But in China, only the wealthy can afford the fines for having more than the accepted number of children, just as only the wealthy can have their babies in the United States.

Having a large family in China is the privilege of the wealthy. This injustice is a direct result of the human rights nightmare that is Communist China.

Beyond the immigration issue, what strikes me most about this story is the attitude of Chino Hills residents towards the denizens of the maternity hotel. “It’s about time. This thing should have shut down a long time ago,” one neighbor told the Times upon the hotel’s closure.

In a way, I can sympathize. The business was illegal in every way, from violating zoning laws to the 2,000 pounds of raw sewage flowing from it. It sounds like it’d be an unpleasant operation to have next door, and it’s probably annoying to watch your country’s immigration laws get the run-around.

But then there’s this: in California, you can’t kill a bat in your home. It doesn’t matter if you have small children who might get bitten. It doesn’t matter if you’re unduly annoyed by rabid, fanged mammals pooping in your kitchen. They are, unlike humans, a “protected species.” In California, people chain themselves to trees to keep the poor trees safe. But a hotel full of pregnant women is nothing more than an unsightly nuisance. Let’s by all means keep the bats and trees safe, but could somebody please get these smelly pregnant foreign humans out of here?

Cindy Chang of the LA Times writes:

So-called birth tourism is widespread in the San Gabriel Valley, with Chinese-language websites advertising rooms in single-family homes or luxury apartment complexes. The women typically enter the country on tourist visas and stay for about a month after giving birth. The child has the option of returning to the U.S. for schooling, and the parents may petition for a green card when the child turns 21.

I don’t believe we should encourage people to come here just to have American babies, nor should we encourage illegal businesses to run in our country and possibly profit off the desperation or ambition of pregnant women. I am most emphatically not condoning “birth tourism” in any way.

But no matter why they’re here, and whether these are the wives of movie stars and state officials or not, these are pregnant women. Shouldn’t we be concerned beyond the stench level of our pristine suburban streets? Right now in California there are a bunch of probably non-English-speaking ladies, carrying babies in their tummies, under the care of God-knows-who, who are now God-knows-where, and that kind of concerns me.

We used to care about pregnant women and their unborn children. Carrying a child used to be seen as sacred. Now popular opinion is that there is something pedestrian, uneducated, and kind of fat and smelly about pregnancy. It’s like unless you are Gwyneth Paltrow, getting pregnant sort of makes you Honey Boo Boo’s mama. Having babies is for hillbillies and immigrants. Just check out the snark in Jezebel’s recent headline: “Jessica Simpson has a baby in her again.” Cute.

Part of this is because people get pregnant under different circumstances nowadays, and I understand that. This is no longer a culture where people grow up, get married, and have babies. This is no longer a culture in which “unintended” pregnancy is an anomaly. There is a lot of going to the club and getting knocked up by a dude whose last name you don’t know. “Kids, Daddy’s home!” is being replaced with “My baby daddy’s check didn’t come on time,” and that is upsetting. It obviously affects our ideas about the sanctity of pregnancy.

But should it? Will it help elevate motherhood and family if we turn our noses up at certain pregnancies? I don’t think so. I think we start rehabilitating our culture’s attitude toward pregnancy by doing just the opposite: treating every expecting woman as though she is carrying and accomplishing something infinitely valuable. Because she is.

Hey, I get it: our total lack of care for the gestating parasite is supposed to speak to our sophistication. I mean, there are already enough people in the world. And we’re just way too advanced to get all sentimental about babies when the population is out of control. I mean, isn’t having more children just kind of irresponsible?

Abortion is the new sacrament of the cult of the anti-human, and pregnant women – unless they are smart enough to have no more than one child and have lots of money and master’s degrees and eat macrobiotic food – are irresponsible and icky.

The postmodern love affair with sterility disgusts me. Malthusianism, Social Darwinism, eugenics…sick, sick, sick. For those of us who believe in the eternal preciousness of every human life, that each beating heart was created on purpose by God Himself for a Reason, the story of the maternity hotel makes us, well, a little worried for the women who were there, whether their reasons for being there were valid or not.

The LA Times seems, so far, to have reported only the relief of the residents of Chino Hills – “the 6th highest income place in the United States” – that the foreign incubators have quit their neighborhood. While I’m 100% in favor of enforcing immigration law, I’m also 100% in favor of making sure these women are safe, and addressing the issues that led them here.

An e-mail to Ms. Chang at the Times was answered by assuring me there is “no human rights issue here – except maybe the one child policy.” She didn’t answer my questions about where the women are now. Maybe she doesn’t know.

Everything about China is a human rights issue. Maybe, like Ms. Chang says, “it’s not that these parents can’t afford to pay the fee for the second child – they’re using that money to get U.S. citizenship instead.” Right – and why? Maybe because they want something better for their children?

I am disgusted that fertility is treated like a disease in China, and that only wealthy women are able to have large families. But let’s say you’re pregnant in China and have the dough to come to the U.S., have your baby here, and ensure that your child will be a U.S. citizen. What do you do? If you’re honest with yourself, you’re thinking, “I’m on a plane.”

But this is a sovereign country, and we have a responsibility to our own citizens. We have a responsibility to insist that our country stays a beacon of freedom and hope, and allowing our laws to be circumvented is not the way to do that. Besides, we can’t accommodate every Chinese pregnancy – and what about the couples who can’t afford the luxury of birth tourism?

So what’s the answer? How do we help the people of China? How do we protect our own country?

The answer is simple: at the risk of sounding all Red Dawn, we have to start taking Communism seriously again, and start doing everything in our power to end it.

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