Kathryn Lopez

But it also points to something much broader than China's brutal population-control policy. Chai Ling did not even fully realize what she was protesting in Tiananmen Square in 1989, the pain of tyranny having oppressed her -- body, mind, and soul -- in such deep and abiding ways, as her book makes clear. As she said on Capitol Hill this September: "We are here to report and mourn the loss of 400-plus million lives taken" under China's one-child policy. "But I never realized until I was writing my memoir that three of those babies are mine."

Abortion is dehumanizing -- and not just to the unborn child whose life it ends. It's degrading to the entire family, to society and civilization as a whole.

And that dehumanization is not unique to or confined to China, where the combination of government mandate and cultural preferences has created a toxic demographic cocktail for the economic superpower.

When Chai Ling talks about the idea of flouting China's abortion laws being unthinkable, Theresa Bonopartis, director of Lumina/Hope and Healing After Abortion in New York, observes, "It could have been said by someone here. The difference, of course, ultimately is, if you are strong enough, smart enough to know you are being coerced, you cannot be forced here the way you are there. We are much more subtle in our coercion."

"I have heard countless women who were coerced say over and over it was their choice," Bonopartis continues. "They make excuses for boyfriends, parents, etc., because they so want to believe they are loved ? in truth, they gave in to pressure."

As Congress considers a worthy bill, one that exerts a little pressure and shows a little moral leadership, it would be nothing short of denial to be unreflective about the irony.

Kathryn Lopez

Kathryn Jean Lopez, editor of National Review Online, writes a weekly column of conservative political and social commentary for Newspaper Enterprise Association.