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Have Pro-Life Groups Misrepresented Chen Guangcheng?

Blind Chinese lawyer's activism against China's one-child policy doesn't easily fit American pro-life categories. (RNS)

NEW YORK (RNS) – When blind Chinese dissident Chen Guangcheng made a daring escape from house arrest this spring and found refuge in the U.S. Embassy in Beijing, he instantly became a popular hero in the West and a rallying point for human rights activists everywhere.

For abortion opponents in the U.S., however, Chen was much more than that: he was an icon of the pro-life cause, a man whose campaign against forced abortion in China made him a potent champion in the fight against legal abortion in America.

Anti-abortion groups in the U.S. regularly cited Chen in their press releases and fundraising materials, using Chen's plight – and the slow pace of the diplomatic negotiations that eventually brought him to safety in New York – as fodder for promoting their cause and galvanizing opposition to President Obama.

Conservative media critic Terry Mattingly even detected a secular bias in the news coverage, complaining that reports were ignoring the fact that Chen "is actually a pro-life activist" ...

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