One-Child Policy, Abortion, and Fertility: China’s Fight to Control its Population

Feb 5, 2010

The ongoing debate on abortion persists until today – even with prevailing issues when it comes to women’s health, crashing economies, and overpopulation. In the eyes of many, abortion continues to be a plague that threatens the morals of an ultramodern society. The prominent argument of pro-life advocates is that the procedure murders the child that has already claimed life upon its conception. They narrowly dismiss the factors that lead to the pregnancy, whether it’s through violent means or against the woman’s will. The argument against abortion also tries to ignore the repercussions once the child is born into the world. The personal, social, and economic consequences of having an unwanted child greatly affect the system, and among the ways to prevent this problem is through controlled reproduction. However, there are also repercussions to having an underpopulated economy. 

China’s problem with overpopulation is causal to the country’s massive issues in socioeconomic aspects. The continued growth of China’s population would mean the degradation of land and resources, worsening pollution, and detrimental living conditions. As a way to control the population, the government has offered policies to limit the reproduction of its people. China only recently abolished its one-child policy in 2015, which was put in place in an attempt to control their overwhelming population growth. The one-child policy offers special benefits for married couples who agree to only have one child while those with more than one child would either be taxed or punished by loss of employment or other benefits. Although the one-child policy has been halted, abortion remains to be legal in the country and is a service offered by the Chinese government. Additionally, there is also universal access to contraception and birth control for women. China formally recognizes five religions including Buddhism, Taoism, Catholicism, Protestantism, and Islam. Regardless of these varying and often conflicting beliefs, China has reached a common objective: to eliminate overpopulation which is gravely hindering the country’s economic performance. 

China’s one-child policy has achieved its aim of controlling the country’s population growth. The success of the one-child policy has now lead to the declining fertility rate because of the country’s cultural preference towards male offspring instead of female. Furthermore, the prosperity of China’s economic expansion has led to many young couples suffering from economic pressures. Although China has been displaying a steady economy, it is now under threat because of its inability to produce more working-age people for the future and the labor force. The decline in the working-age population can heavily burden consumer spending, which can further impact China’s economy. China’s health care system is also under threat because of the increasing elderly people with chronic health problems. As part of the solution, China has put forward a chronic-disease prevention campaign to gain control over health care issues. The greater need for long-term health care for the elderly has massively offset China’s improved living standards. China faces the fastest rates of an aging population, along with it are problems with allocating resources equally.

For so long, China has struggled with its overwhelming population, but as soon as it was solved, another issue arose quickly and it stemmed from the initial policy placed to curb overpopulation. China now faces an inevitable crisis due to a shrinking population. The role of abortion in China is now under scrutiny. If the procedure continues to become legal and available for women in China, then the problem with under-population will persist. The situation in terms of reproduction and fertility in China begs the question: is it time the government intervenes with women’s rights to abortion? China has been notorious for making policies that stir up controversy around the world. The one-child policy caught heavy criticisms as it was being discussed, however, China didn’t hold back from enforcing it. The apparent success of the one-child policy might encourage China to enforce new policies that would stimulate population growth to retain the country’s economic fruition.

A balanced population is among the key characteristics that maintain the strength of a country’s economy. China’s economy has been gathering force for quite some time only to prepare for an impending crisis. Furthermore, a resolution to its problem is still within arm's length. Abortion and birth control have crucial roles to play in the bigger picture. Personal rights and freedom of women, along with the beliefs of religious people, could appear to be the least of China’s overall concern. Nonetheless, the socioeconomic implications of controlled reproduction are at a standstill because, although China displays an authoritarian government, more people from around the world takes a firm stance against a controlling, fascist regime. If the one-child policy worked in the past, a counter solution would cause more controversy because it further limits anyone’s freedom to choose. 

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