She faces a decision no woman should have to make.
Mrs Chen is eight months pregnant.
She should be practicing her breathing exercises and ripping open little pink and blue packages at her baby shower, to reveal a tidal wave of knitted booties.
Instead, she’s debating whether to endure a late-term abortion. Not because she doesn’t want the baby or because of a health issue, but because her husband will almost certainly lose his job if she gives birth to their second child.
Mrs Chen — who would not be identified in full — lives in China, where the restrictive “one child policy” has been in place since 1979.
Although the policy was eased slightly in 2013 to allow some couples to have a second child, the policy still remains in place when both husband and wife have at least one sibling.
Mrs Chen and her husband “Mr Qi”, from China’s Yunnan province, do not fit into that exempt category.
But making their situation even more difficult is the fact that Mrs Chen’s husband, who is a police officer, will most likely lose his job if the couple ignore the birth ban, according to the Associated Press (AP).
“I’m fearful,” Mrs Chen told AP. “If my husband believes I must abort the child, there’s nothing I can do.”
She is now concerned that, even if she does have an abortion, her husband will be fired for going public with the case.
Mrs Chen’s devastating story has attracted significant media attention.
Since it started making headlines, strangers have been calling local officials to inquire about the case — and according to AP, online travel service called CTrip has now offered the husband a role if he loses his public service job.
The local Chuxiong City Health and Family Planning Bureau, in response to the public outcry, on Tuesday issued a statement confirming Mrs Chen wouldn’t be forced to have an abortion.
But family planning official Wen Xueping said in a statement that the couple would be held accountable for their actions — a possible allusion to Mr Qi being fired.
Wen also said he was suspicious of the couple’s motives for going public with the case.
“There also is the suspicion that the couple wants to avoid the punishment for breaking the rules by stirring up public interest,” he said.
If Mrs Chen does give birth, the couple is also likely to be fined under the one-child policy. The amount of such fines varies, but is generally anywhere up to six times the average annual income for the region for a couple, according to MailOnline.
That’s a significant financial burden for a family caring for two children — particularly is Mr Qi finds himself unemployed, too.
It is not yet clear whether or not Ms Chen has decided to proceed with her pregnancy.