BEIJING, June 15 (UPI) -- Chinese authorities apologized to a woman forced to have a late-term abortion and said they suspended three local officials involved in the incident.
Local authorities originally said the operation was voluntary, then acknowledged Thursday it was illegal, CNN reported Friday.
Two of the suspended officials were in charge of local family planning, the report said.
Photos taken after the abortion of a bloody baby lying next to Feng Jianmei in a hospital bed circulated online, leading to rare domestic media coverage and debate on China's controversial one-child policy, CNN said.
Feng, 22, was illegally detained May 30 in Shaanxi province and forced to undergo the procedure in her seventh month of pregnancy, her husband said.
"Since the illegal actions by some officials have seriously hurt Feng Jianmei and her family, we want to offer our deep apologies to them and to the [general] public," Ankang city government officials in Shaanxi province, which administers Feng's village, said in a statement
The officials pledged to punish those found responsible.
"I'm angry and want justice," Deng Jiyuan told CNN in a telephone interview. "They forced her to abort our 7-month-old child -- do they deserve to be called Communist Party officials who served the people?"
Deng, 29, said he was trying to secure a birth permit but could not afford a $6,300 fine demanded by officials, CNN said.
The couple married in 2006 and had a girl in 2007, local officials said.
"Such action has seriously violated relevant policies and regulations set by the state and provincial family planning authorities, harmed the image of family planning work and caused extremely negative social impact," the Shaanxi Population and Family Planning Commission said in a statement.
China introduced the controversial policy in the late 1970s to curb population growth in the world's most populous nation.