I'm assuming you're aware the Chinese government forces women to have abortions as part of its long-standing "One Child" policy for keeping the population growth in check. But perhaps it didn't occur to you how tough it is, in a land of more than a billion people, to keep track of who's knocked up. I mean, yeah, once they've had one kid a doctor can usually be forced to tie the chick's tubes, but you know doctors — they can be arrogant pricks who try to play God and embarrass the party by reporting stuff like SARS and AIDS-infected blood transfusions etc. So you hire domestic spies to keep tabs on who's looking plump — sort of like the paparazzi, only everyone's famous! — but once in awhile you'll get the hermits. The J.D. Salingers. The woman who's so big she's practically spewing water all over the floor by the time you catch wind of her rogue plan to procreate. And that's where so-called "partial birth" abortion isn't enough to do the job; you've gotta kill the fetus by lethal injection. The only problem is, after all that, the woman's usually infertile — not a problem so long as she's had her one child. But what if you fuck up, strap her down on a hospital bed and stick a needle through her stomach into the fetus that is two days way from its due date only to find out you've just killed her first? And now you've ruined her one chance to have a kid?

Well, the Chinese justice system has to be good for something, and so far it has agreed to pay the several grand in medical expenses Jin Yani incurred over the 44 days she spent in the hospital as a result of complications of the forced abortion of the nine-month-old fetus she conceived with her husband five months before the legal minimum childbearing age of 20. They want a little more than that, of course, but the mere fact that the case has been heard is an achievement.

In a blow against the state's brutally imposed one-child policy, she and her husband are claiming danmages against the authorities, saying that officials acted unlawfully.

China's higher courts have agreed to hear the plea - the first time this has happened in a case of this kind.

Yang Zhongchen, her husband, tried to prevent the abortion by wining and dining officials in Hebei province. He also agreed to pay a fine of £650, but none of this prevented Changli county family planning officials arriving on Sept 7, 2000.

Mrs Jin said: "I got on my knees and begged them after they took me to the clinic and said I wanted to give birth to my daughter. I had already named her Yang Yin."

In the clinic, she was injected with a large syringe. Her husband arrived in time to witness the removal of the dead foetus with forceps two days later.

Mrs Jin lost blood, and was hospitalised for 44 days. Her husband was charged for the medicine she needed. He said that his wife is now infertile as a result of the abortion.

Mr Yang has demanded £85,000 to cover medical expenses, psychological distress and Mrs Jin's inability to conceive.

And that, I guess, is why God created trial lawyers?

China woman in legal first over abortion case [Telegraph]
Related: Enemies of the State [TIME]