Strange Bedfellows Chinese
Communists and The Republican Party
by Daniel C. Maguire
The Republican Party and the
Chinese Communists agree on this principle: when you
are pregnant, the pregnancy is the governments
business, not yours.
on this principle in China, the Communist government
may order a pregnant woman to abort. However, in the
US, if the Republicans have their way as announced in
their party platform, if you are pregnant, the government
will order you to carry the fetus to term, no matter
what the circumstances. And it seems that the Republicans
are having their way, as evidenced by the well advanced
whittling down of Roe v.Wade.
The statist principle endorsed by the Chinese
Communists and the Republicans is this: a pregnant woman
is not in charge of her pregnancy, the government is,
and the government will tell her what to do about it.
So the word is: get pregnant, and you are no longer in
charge of your body. The State is
.and you will take orders either to deliver (the
US) or to abort (China). After you deliver or abort,
you will then resume control of your body, but only for
as long as you are not pregnant.
Whos draconian around here?
The favored adjective for critics of Chinese
birth policies is draconian. But who is really
more draconian, the no-choice Republicans or the Chinese
Communists? What is worse forced pregnancy or
forced abortion? Which position shows the least respect
for the personal rights and dignity of women?
Chinese birth policies are more accepted in China than
Westerners imagine. Professor Luo Ping, sociologist and
director of the Womens Studies Center at Wuhan
University, cautions Western critics regarding Chinas
family planning goals: Family planning must
be implemented in a country like China where the size
of the population puts too much pressure on the economy
and on society....China is just like a small boat which
can carry only 100 people but already has 110 in it.
In a recent analysis, Chinese demographers
said that the one child program had reduced
births by 338 million. They point out the contribution
this makes not only to China but also to an overstressed
world. Had those 338 million gotten born, China would
be below self- sufficiency in food grain production.As
of 2001, China has reached a below-replacement fertility
rate of 1.8. (2.1 is considered replacement.) China is
also offering help to poor nations facing population
Much of Chinas progress is due to contraception,
not abortion. In the United States, 65% of couples are
estimated to use contraceptives. In China, the rate is
over 85%. Abortion rates in China are actually declining
from 14 million in 1991 to 6.7 million in 2000.
The new Chinese law on birth planning and
population incorporates many of the humane and feminist
provisions of the United Nations Conference on Population
and Development held in Cairo in 1994 and the Beijing
World Conference on Women in 1995.Article 3 of that law
insists on increasing the opportunity of women
for education and employment, improving womens
health, and raising womens status.Whats
more,Article 19 says that contraception, not abortion,
is the main family planning method, and the law strictly
forbids unsafe abortions.
Simply put, there is much in China that is not at all
draconian. China had reached a critical mass of population
growth, more than its land could sustain. It deserves
a fairer judgment than much of the West has given it.
Sooner than sitting in arch judgment of Chinas
policy, why not let conscience start at home? Isnt
the US attitude toward women and children just a tad
Item: In Wyoming, a pregnant woman beaten by her
husband needed hospital care. She, not her husband, was
charged when the police found she had been drinking.
Item: In Georgia, a woman delivered
a stillborn child two days after a severe beating by
her boyfriend; she was arrested due to the discovery
of cocaine in her blood.
Item: In Montana, abortion is listed
as a crime, but a mans killing a fetus through
violence against the woman is not.
As Professor Jean Reith Schroedel writes: Until
the 1980s district attorneys would generally not
file charges against a batterer unless the victim pressed
In a 2003 report of Save the Children, the
United States with all its wealth ranks below Canada,
Australia, and all the western and northern European
countries in maternal mortality and infant mortality
rates. Bush tax cuts, generous to the rich, leave poor
Of all the candidates who could sit in pious
judgment of China, once again, the United States does
not rank first.
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