Feng Jiamei, pictured in hospital, was forced into having an abortion at seven months
Chinese officials have reportedly apologised to a woman who was forced to have an abortion at seven months.
Three people have been suspended as the incident, which occurred in Shaanxi province, is investigated, the BBC reports.
The probe, instigated by China's National Population and Family Planning Commission, began after a photo purporting to show Feng Jiamei lying in a hospital bed next to the bloody body of her aborted child circulated online. Huffington Post UK has seen the picture but has chosen not to publish it.
Abortions after the sixth month of pregnancy are prohibited in Chinese law.
WARNING: VIDEO BELOW CONTAINS IMAGES THAT SOME VIEWERS MAY FIND DISTURBING.
The Shaanxi Provincial Family Planning Committee has sent an investigation team to Zengjiazhen and requested the responsible parties held accountable, China's official government news agency reported.
“This has damaged the image of family planning work, and had an adverse effect on the society. The committee will resolutely prevent such things from happening again,” a statement on Xinhua news said.
Feng, already a mother-of-one, was restrained while the procedure was carried out, The Global Times reported.
US-based activists claimed the the 23-year-old was forced to have the termination because she couldn’t pay the £4,000 ($6,320) fine for having a second child, the BBC said.
Feng’s husband Deng Jiyuan told The Global Times: “The county detained my wife in a rented house on May 30. She almost killed herself out of panic.”
He said five men then forcibly delivered a poisonous injection three days to his blindfolded wife after making her sign an agreement to have the abortion.
The Zhenping county family planning bureau initially denied the claims and says the abortion was carried out with the family’s consent.
It added Feng agreed to undergo induced labour on June 2, China.org said.
The channel adds: "The [Shaanxi] commission said most of the descriptions of Feng's case found in online posts were factual. But investigators are still looking into allegations that Feng was illegally detained before the abortion was performed."
China brought in a one child policy as a means of slowing the birth rate in 1979. It restricts married, urban couples to having one child, with exemptions allowed for rural couples, ethnic minorities and parents without siblings.