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Lisa Smiley is a young woman who was born illegally in China under its one-child policy. When she was born, her parents already had three daughters, meaning that their first daughter was the only child born legally.

Lisa wrote, “Despite what the government and society were preaching, my parents and extended family had very strong family values, loved children and didn’t want to abort any of us.”

Striving for a son to carry on the family name, her parents also had another baby girl after Lisa. Boys are favored in China, which results in the abortion of many girls. So many baby girls are killed that there is actually a “missing women” problem in Asia. There are significantly more men than women.

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Lisa’s parents with four of their daughters in China

Lisa recounted how her mother had to endure extreme circumstances while she was pregnant in order to keep her and her children safe. Her mother moved from the countryside they lived in to the city with relatives because she feared government officials would find her. There were even times when the family had to separate to live with relatives when officials came through the village looking for them. Lisa’s older sister recalls being looked down upon because having so many children was illegal and their large family was considered social unacceptable.


Fortunately, Lisa’s family moved from China to New Zealand when she was four years old and then later to America where they all reside now.

Lisa's parents pictured with their grandson and three youngest children

Lisa’s parents pictured with their grandson and three youngest children


“If we had stayed in China, I don’t know what would have happened to us. Many illegally born children are denied legitimacy in the greater society and are forced to live as ‘ghost children.’


In China, an estimated 330 million children have been aborted since the one-child policy was put in place in 1980. Lisa recounted that many women found pregnant are dragged from their homes, beaten, and then forced to undergo an abortion. She recalls the photo that went viral a few years ago that showed a mother who was beaten because she was pregnant and would not consent to an abortion. The picture showed her murdered preborn baby lying next to her. This is the agony the Chinese government places on its people. We are fortunate that, in America, no mother needs to break the law in order to choose life.


Lisa thanks her parents for respecting all human beings, not matter what: “I am so indebted to my parents. What they had to go through to choose life for me and my four sisters is incredible.”


Because of her parents’ example, Lisa Smiley now publicly shares the culture of life message via her blog, videos, and during speaking events. She communicates to others the truth that children—no matter the circumstance—are a blessing, and that every person’s life has value!


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