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China’s One-Child Policy Had ‘Harsh’ Consequences, Two-Child Policy Limits Citizens’ Reproductive Choices

Project Syndicate: China’s One-Child Calamity
Minxin Pei, professor of government at Claremont McKenna College and non-resident senior fellow at the German Marshall Fund of the United States

“…[I]t is reasonable to estimate that as many as half of China’s abortions — some 6.5 million registered surgical abortions, plus untold numbers of drug-induced or unregistered abortions, per year — are attributable to the one-child policy. This implies that there were upwards of 200 million abortions over the policy’s 35 years. But forced abortions are only the beginning. Indeed, these figures — however shocking — do not capture the human suffering or the harsh economic consequences brought about by the one-child policy. … Now is the time to recognize [the consequences of China’s one-child policy], particularly given that China’s leaders are not done limiting their citizens’ reproductive choices. On the contrary, they are simply moving from a one-child policy to a two-child policy. Outsiders and Chinese alike must emphasize the senseless cruelty that such measures imply and work to ensure that they are never seen again — in China or anywhere else” (11/4).

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Filling the need for trusted information on national health issues, the Kaiser Family Foundation is a nonprofit organization based in Menlo Park, California.