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The Problem of Abortion in China
Abortion in China is a delicate subject matter for two reasons. Firstly, it seems to have a vague legal backing while enjoying an off-hand backing of the one-child policy. Secondly, there are illegal pregnancies in China and Chinese family planning officials use forced abortions quoting “remedial measures” in dealing with unauthorized pregnancies. This discourse evaluates the subject of abortion in China and attempts to put forward a number of solutions. These solutions include increasing public education and education, instituting policies aimed at protecting the fundamental rights of the pregnant women and having mechanisms for fair application o0f law.
Understanding abortion in China
Abortion is a heated topic on the perspective of China based on two main reasons. First, with the Chinese government’s national policy of one child per couple comes an inclination for couples to have a liking for babies of particular gender or sex while developing a dislike for the other sex. It has been clearly shown in the past that most couples prefer to have baby boys rather than baby girls. With modern technology where the sex of the child can be established within the period of pregnancy and way before delivery, coupes can establish the sex of the baby and decide to flush it out if it is not a desirable option for them. Secondly, and most complicated is the fact that the Chinese government has been known to use forced abortions on pregnant women for carrying unauthorized pregnancies. This is further complicated by the fact that abortions are not only sanctioned by the government but are also legal in China. These two poignant aspects of abortion in China make it a subject worth keen interest.
China, since 1979, has instituted a national policy aimed at regulating the number of children a woman can have and this was instituted as one of the radical strategies aimed at putting the ambitious population growth rate in check. Nevertheless, it must be agreed that forced abortions sanctioned by the state clearly infringe on the basic rights of the woman, the couple, the child and the society by extension. Wu et al (2005) clearly bring out this point by arguing that it is a fundamental principle to accept that a woman has a right to have children (and to be specific, as many as the woman wishes to have). Therefore, while it is evident that the government of China applies forced abortions as a means of controlling the population and national fertility, it is also not without doubt that it is a blatant application of a political strategy in dealing with a problem that has a multi-dimensional nature in terms of political, social and basic rights of the person.
The issue of abortion in China is a double-edged sword in that it cuts the life of a baby short, endangers the life of the mother and it ridicules the function of the state as a protector of fundamental human rights of the members of the society especially the pregnant mothers. The other side of the sword has something to do with its social constructs. To put this clearer, a good point of reference is an article in the New York Times by Jian (2013) in which Zhang Yimou, a celebrated film director in Beijing has been noted as one of the high profile violators of the one-child policy. The celebrity is said to have fathered seven children with four women. This revelation caused uproar among people for the unequal application of the one-child policy, which stipulates that every couple can only have one child unless the couple comprises ethnic minority. Ethnic minorities or rural couples that have a girl as their first child are allowed to have a second child.
From the legal point of view, the Chinese constitution does not seem to be specific about protecting the rights of the personal rights of the mothers; other than vaguely stating that family planning administrators are not allowed to violate the personal rights of the civilian. However, despite this, the same law gives the family planning officials a sluice to violate these rights through what the law euphemistically calls remedial measures to terminate any unwanted pregnancy. It is this unequivocal nature of the law that makes abortion legal in China; where every family planning official wishing to terminate unauthorized pregnancy would simply invoke “remedial measures” to his aid. The concept of law and constitution aside, it would seem that the government then needs to be extra keen on putting mechanisms in place to ensure that the safety of the mother is not compromised in the rush to take remedial measures and implement population control policy. Th.............
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