Abortion in China

The abortion in the PRC , based on induced abortion or abortion is legal and is a health service free offered by the government at the request of the woman .

In addition to easy access to precocious contraceptive methods and postcoital emergency contraception , induced abortion is considered essential by the Chinese government to achieve its population stability goals and is one of the methods used to achieve child policy Unique . The Chinese authorities consider population growth and overcrowding as one of the country’s structural problems. 1

The national policy of population control, and in particular the restrictive single-child policy, has contributed to the practice of selective abortion of women for prenatal sex diagnosis, as a result of the desire based on the tradition of preferring sons, Prenatal sex diagnosis and selective abortion – are illegal in China . 2 3

Decriminalization of abortion in China

Before the establishment of the People’s Republic of China, abortion was illegal and continued until the 1970s when abortion was considered one more method to achieve China ‘s population control objectives . 4

Historical political demographic context in China

1949- Natalismo initial of the communist revolution

The official doctrine of the communist revolution of 1949 on demograria and population growth became part of Marxist orthodoxy: there is no problem in the quantity of population but in production, without private property there will be no problem of sharing the Production and food for a large population. 5

In Mao Zedong’s words :

It should be considered positive that China has a large population. Even if the population of China should multiply several times, it could find solutions to the problems created by its increase; The solution lies in the production … Revolution plus production can solve the problem of feeding the population ” 6

Not all defended nationalist nationalism, thus, the president of Peking University Ma Yinchu considered family planning as early as 1950, reason why was stopped. 5

1953 – Attempts of birth control: first modern census

Following the first modern census of 1953, which reveals a population of 583 million people, the Chinese authorities are receptive to the dominant neo-Malthusianism in the Western demographic thinking of those years. 5

Since August 1959, the Ministry of Public Health has developed a campaign of birth control, surrounded by a great propaganda effort, although without visible effects on fertility. It is the first attempt that hardly lasts a few months since the Cultural Revolution , with its Great Leap Forward . 5

1958/1961 – Famine and death of 20 million

Between 1958 and 1961 there is a collapse of agricultural production that has as its first consequence 20 million people who died of hunger. In that context, family planning is a minor issue. 5

1963/1966 – Reduction of fecundity by late marriage

Nonetheless, some indirect measures aimed at controlling the population are taken up, such as promoting the virtues of late marriage. Thus, the first years of the 1960s – in the cities – fertility is reduced by almost half between 1963 and 1966. 5

1972 – Antinatalism and policies of population control

It is in 1972, when the Chinese Communist Party assumes as a national policy of first order the control of population increase and promotes, despite the reluctance of some leaders, a national campaign, with the creation of supervisors and administrative structures And specific sections in the urban police stations for the rigorous control of the population. In rural areas, medical counselors are sent to inform and facilitate access to and distribution of contraceptives . 5

First limits to the number of children

In the mid-1970s numerical control objectives were established by administrative units and for the first time limits were established on the number of children per family: 5

  • Urban environment: a desirable maximum of two children.
  • Rural environment : three or four.

1979 – Single-child policy

Main article: Single-child policy

Projections demographic derived from demographic inertia in the late 1970s, if not corrected, pointing to huge and unsustainable growth of the population, which would prevent development programs, economic and modernization that were established at that time by the government Chinese .

The objective was to achieve stabilization of the population in the year 2000, once reached the 1.2 billion inhabitants. To this end, the objective of the only child is established throughout the country – with exceptions in territories considered special or for some ethnic minorities.

It was a radical and unprecedented goal. Combined propaganda, social pressure, profit-making and economic penalties

Thus, couples with only one child, if they decide not to have more, obtain a certification that gives them different benefits: shorter maternity leave, preferential pediatric services, priority allocation of housing … getting to receive cash aids.

However, in rural areas, the strength of tradition makes fertility much greater, so that controls are very rigorous: the delay in marriage continues to be strengthened – in 1980 marriage is prohibited before age 22 and The 20 years of men and women respectively-, and the delay to have the first child. Those who already have it are supervised in their contraceptive practices and pressured for the practice of forced abortion and sterilization .

US aid for demographic control in China

Even in the Cold War , the United States sees fear the rapid population growth throughout the Third World and especially China, who provides advice and financing through the International Planned Parenthood Federation (IPPF) and the Fund The United Nations Population Fund ( UNFPA ). Following the arrival of Ronald Reagan in 1981, backed by ultraconservative and pro-development sectors, US policy undergoes a radical turn and will withdraw its support for UNFPA until, in 1986, it withdraws all funding, thereby giving up control of growth Demographic in China and other poor countries.

2006 – The population in China exceeds 1.300 million

In 1999 the People’s Republic of China increased its population by 670 million inhabitants compared to 1953, surpassing 1,252 million. In 2006 official figures from the Chinese government showed more than 1.3 billion people. In 2008 the estimated population was 1328 million. 7

Number of abortions in China

It is difficult to know with any certainty the number of abortions in China since not all are registered (which is also the case in other countries) and government statistics (unlike other countries) are considered State secrets . 8However some sources estimate that in 2008 there were about 13 million abortions, as they were sold about 10 million abortion pills. 8 Abortions are more common in urban settings as couples can have only one child. 9 In rural areas is allowed to have a second child if the first is a girl and whenever the “second birth permit” that has a cost of about 4,000 yuan ($ 500-650 Euros) is obtained. 10

Illegality of selective abortion

The practice of prenatal sex diagnosis and selective abortion – by sex, traditionally in females – for non-medical reasons are illegal in China. 2 3 Despite its illegality, it is considered that it continues to be practiced, in view of imbalances in the sex ratio in the population, since this can not be explained solely by not registering women born or by female infant mortality. 11 12

In 2007, 117 children were born for every 100 girls. 11 These data are still explained by the persistence of the family tradition that prefers children rather than girls. 13

In 2005 the Chinese government started an action plan aimed at normalizing the sex ratio of newborns by 2010 and thus against selective abortion of girls. 14

Prohibition of prenatal diagnosis of sex

Under that plan selective abortion by sex was prohibited as well as the prenatal diagnosis of sex being severely punished its practice. Also included were the control of the commercialization of ultrasound machines used for the diagnosis and improvement of systems used by family planning organizations on births, abortions and pregnancies. 14

Despite this, selective abortion by sex is still practiced, since as in many other countries, illegal abortion is not easily controlled by governments, mainly because of the persistence, in the Chinese case, of the preference for the male child . 11 15 16

Bibliography

  • James Z. Lee, Wang Feng, One Quarter of Humanity: Malthusian Mythology and Chinese Realities, 1700-2000, (1999) , 2001, Harvard University Press, ISBN 0-674-00709-3
  • Jing-Bao Nie, Behind the silence: Chinese voices on abortion 2005, Rowman & Littlefields Publishers

References

  1. Back to top↑ Hesketh, Therese. Lu, Li. Xing, Zhu Wei, Sept 2005, “The Effect of China’s One-Child Family Policy After 25 Years, The New England Journal of Medicine, Vol. 353, Iss. 11. Retrieved 3 Sept 2010.
  2. ↑ Jump to:a b Nie, Jing-Bao. Feb 2010, “Limits of State Intervention in Sex-Selective Abortion: The Case of China,” Culture, Health and Sexuality, Vol. 12, Iss. 2 P. 205.
  3. ↑ Jump to:a b Junhong, Chu, June 2001, “Prenatal Sex Determination and Sex-Selective Abortion in Rural Central China,” Population and Development Review, Vol. 27, Iss. 2 P. 262.
  4. Back to top↑ Nie, Jing-Bao. Feb 2010, “Limits of State Intervention in Sex-Selective Abortion: The Case of China,” Culture, Health and Sexuality, Vol. 12, Iss. 2 P. 206. Retrieved 3 Sept 2010.
  5. ↑ Jump to:a b c d e f g h China and the only child. The most famous demographic control policy in the world: China and the only child, in Notes of demography by Julio Pérez Díaz
  6. Back to top↑ Cited by Massimo Livi Bacci , World Minimal History (1990), Barcelona, ​​Ed. Ariel, 2009, ISBN 978-84-9892-005-5 , pg. 174
  7. Back to top↑ China, census and estimated population, total and administrative units
  8. ↑ Jump to:a b Report: China aborts 13 million babies a year. “Burlington, Vermont: Burlington Free Press 31 July 2009. pp. 2A.
  9. Back to top↑ Garner, Paul. Qian, Xu. Tang, Shenglan, Jan 2004, “Unintended Pregnancy and Induced Abortion Among Unmarried Women in China: A Systematic Review,” BMC Health Services Research, Bio Med Central, p. 3.
  10. Back to top↑ Junhong, Chu, June 2001, “Prenatal Sex Determination and Sex-Selective Abortion in Rural Central China,” Population and Development Review, Vol. 27, Iss. 2 P. 264. Retrieved 3 Sept 2010.
  11. ↑ Jump to:a b c Hesketh, Therese. Lu, Li. Xing, Zhu Wei, Sept 2005, “The Effect of China’s One-Child Family Policy After 25 Years, The New England Journal of Medicine, Vol. 353, Iss. eleven.
  12. Back to top↑ One quarter of humanity: Malthusian mythology and Chinese realities, 1700-2000, (1999) James Z. Lee, Wang Feng, 2001, Harvard University Press, ISBN 0-674-00709-3, p. eleven
  13. Back to top↑ Junhong, Chu, June 2001, “Prenatal Sex Determination and Sex-Selective Abortion in Rural Central China,” Population and Development Review, Vol. 27, Iss. 2 P. 267.
  14. ↑ Jump to:a b Nie, Jing-Bao. Feb 2010, “Limits of State Intervention in Sex-Selective Abortion: The Case of China,” Culture, Health and Sexuality, Vol. 12, Iss. 2 P. 207.
  15. Back to top↑ Junhong, Chu, June 2001, “Prenatal Sex Determination and Sex-Selective Abortion in Rural Central China,” Population and Development Review, Vol. 27, Iss. 2 P. 261.
  16. Back to top↑ Junhong, Chu, June 2001, “Prenatal Sex Determination and Sex-Selective Abortion in Rural Central China,” Population and Development Review, Vol. 27, Iss. 2 P. 269.