Imagine the government dictating how many children you may have. And if you disobey, you risk crippling fines, prison time and your “illegal” child being ostracized or even killed.
Families in China do not have to imagine. Inhumane population control mandates have been a reality in Communist China for four decades.
But now, the government is backtracking as the disastrous results of its One Child Policy become clear. Millions of Chinese adults are aging with no one to take care of them, and millions more young men cannot find wives because a cultural preference for male sons has led to millions of sex-selection abortions of baby girls.
On Friday, the Chinese Communist Party National People’s Congress passed a new law allowing families to have up to three children, the BBC reports.
Leaders hope the change will encourage families to have more children – especially after the country’s shift to a two-child policy in 2015 appears to have failed to do so, according to the report.
Along with the new three-child limit, the government also repealed its “social maintenance fee,” a penalty for having more children than allowed under the law, and passed resolutions “encouraging local governments to offer parental leave, increasing women’s employment rights; and improving childcare infrastructure,” the BBC reports.
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China instituted its One Child Policy in 1980 to control its rapidly-growing population. The policy led to numerous forced abortions and forced sterilizations as well as severe penalties of up to 10 times the family’s annual income and job losses for parents who violated the law. “Illegal” children who survived were hidden by their families or ostracized from society.
After China began allowing families to have two children five years ago, human rights leaders warned that forced abortions and other abuses did not stop. In 2017, Reggie Littlejohn, founder and president of Women’s Rights Without Frontiers, told LifeNews.com that single women and women bearing third children were still being forced to abort their unborn babies.
Echoing stories pro-lifers have been sharing for years, a recent Associated Press report exposed even more abuses, including police raids on families’ homes in search of illegal children, families going into hiding to protect their children, government intimidation and more.
It is likely that these abuses will continue with the new three-child policy as well.
Approximately 13 million unborn babies are aborted in China every year, though some researchers believe the number may be much higher.
It is not clear how many mothers were forced to abort their unborn babies during the decades of the One Child Policy. Based on 2020 census data, researchers estimate that about 30 million men in China cannot find wives because so many girls have been aborted.
The Chinese government also reportedly is forcing Uyghur women to abort their unborn babies as part of a mass genocide against religious and cultural minorities. Earlier this year, a report estimated about 2 million Uyghurs have been “eradicated” by the Chinese Communist Party in the past eight years, Forbes reports.