Removal of China's One-Child Policy by: Alecia Daley-Tulloch

The removal of the one-child policy is when the government of China decided to allow women to have more than one child. The process of increasing the population would involve women having their intrauterine device that was once required, to now be removed. The issue of the government getting involved in women's bodies is creating much controversy in China. This is a legacy of the modern past because the one-child policy has been in effect for over three decades. Since the 1980's, families were only allowed to have one child to control population. However, this new law changes the policy in China from the last thirty years that everyone has grown accustom to. In the modern past to now, China has been very precautionary about maintaining the country, in areas such as hunger, pollution, and especially keeping the growth of the population under control.

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In 1978, China introduced the one-child policy where families were required to have no more than one child. To do this, the government made all women receive an intrauterine device. This machine that was entered into their uterus was made to kill sperm or make the uterus inhabitable, so the woman would not pregnant. However, this IUD device was in fact very dangerous. When a woman reaches menopause, the uterus will gradually shrink with the IUD still inside. This can lead to endometritis, the inflammation of the lining of a uterus caused by infection. Although women might get their IUD’s removed after they reach menopause, one fourth of women do not have access to the surgery to get it removed. Even the process to remove the IUD is extremely painful. The surgery can cause complications including, bleeding, infections, pain, perforation of uterus, or the IUD breaking. Women are forced to get this IUD but the consequences and symptoms are hardly bearable. Then, when they are told they can take it out, it is even more harmful to their bodies. Not only were the women not allowed to expand their family, the pain they had to face was inhumane. Although not getting an IUD was not against the law, not getting it would cause the mother and child to suffer. If woman had another child, their kid would be denied access to public school and health insurance. Also, the mother would lose their jobs if they were civil servants and state employees. There were even extreme situations where if a woman refused to get an IUD, they were forced to get one, or forced to have an abortion.

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However, after everything these women faced, the government of China changed the policy. Soon they realized that the average woman having 1.05 children was less than the 2.1 recommended as the population replacement rate. On January 1, 2017, China released a new policy that allowed, and encouraged, women to have more than one child to fulfill the new two child policy. Although they can now have more children, women are outraged at the government. The government created new service and finance systems to let women receive free removal of IUD’s. Not only that but the government is doing much more to provide aid for women having more kids. Since China has catered to one-child families for three decades, changes need to be made in the systems. Including, more wealth distribution, old-age care, lower housing costs, lower population density in cities, more social services for children and lower child-raising costs. Although the government seems to care about taking care of the women so they can have more kids, it does not make up for the terrible pain they forced women to go through for over thirty years. The government cared more about the sake of the country than sake of the women. Free removal of IUD’s and extra services would not only not affect the birthrate, it also could not ease the pain they caused. In Legalism in ancient China, the government made the decisions that people had no choice but to follow because it what they thought was best for everyone. Similarly, the women do not like the government, yet again, having a say in their personal lives. Also, even if the removal of IUD’s would benefit the women, it would be too late for many of them, now over 40, to have another child. Ms. Ai, a 63 year old documentary filmmaker, shares her views about the China government in this situation: “'In the eyes of the government, women are labor units,’ Ms. Ai said. ‘When the country needs you to give birth, you have to do so. And when they don’t need you to give birth, you don’t.'” Ms. Ai speaks for most of the women in China that feel disrespected by the government and feel that they have to sacrifice their human rights for the sake of the rest of the country.

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More questions prompted by my research is: Why does the government feel they have the right to control what women can do with their own bodies. Also, is there no other way for China to take care of their country and control their population without using something as dangerous as IUD’s? I think this issue is important because women need to be aware of what is happening to their fellow “sisters” in other countries. I believe that everyone is entitled to their human rights, and women should be able to choose what to do with their bodies and how many kids they want to have.

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Credits:

Created with images by Momentchensammler - "Cannot believe your eyes" • christels - "child china bike" • brusalvate - "pregnant woman pregnancy belly" • PublicDomainPictures - "people child children" • tanvach - "It's me, honest" • Anja Disseldorp - "China Hmong woman with child"

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