Opinion / Op-Ed Contributors

Woman's right whether to have another child

By Liu Minghui (China Daily) Updated: 2015-03-11 07:36

Woman's right whether to have another child

A child holds family planning service card. IC/Han Yuhong

Despite the easing of the family planning policy last year that allows couples where either party is a single child to have two children, many scholars are advocating that China should relax the family planning policy further. And since the number of families applying to have a second child under the recent reform has not been as high as expected, they argue preferential policies are needed to encourage families to have a second child. Last month, Mei Zhiqiang, a political advisor to Shanxi provincial committee, went even so far as to suggest that China should make it compulsory for every family to have two children.

Over the past three decades or so, the family planning policy restricting most families to one child has accelerated the aging of society and produced a number of social problems, such as the imbalanced gender ratio. However, whether all married couples should be allowed to have a second child and whether "preferential" policies are needed to encourage more couples to have a second child have become bones of contention.

For example, the suggestion that there should be a compulsory requirement for each couple to have two children exposes the lack of legal awareness among some of the country's political advisors. Legal awareness means understanding and following the letter of the law. Political advisors bear an important social responsibility, and they should consciously develop legal awareness so they can offer policy suggestions under the framework of the law.

Under Article 17 of The Population and Family Planning Law, citizens have the right of reproduction. It is simply a right, which means every citizen has the freedom not to exercise it.

According to Article 51 of the Law on the Protection of Rights and Interests of Women, women have the right of reproduction according to the country's laws and regulations, and also have the right to not give birth. Article 51 not only clarifies the right of reproduction, it also upholds women's right to not give birth.

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