Friday, July 22, 2016

Forced Abortion Policy

From guest blogger, Jane.

In 1979 China implemented the family planning policy where urban married couples were to have only one child and ethnic minority couples were excluded from the law. The population explosion had taken a toll on resources and the government decided on the implementation of one child per family.

The government could not foresee or was so shortsighted that the family planning policy would eventually lead to forced abortion. People are not puppets that they follow instructions set out by the law and not deviate.
To date, the one-child policy has helped prevent at least 300 million births in China and aided the country's rapid economic development.

China is one of the countries that allows abortion. To comply with the law of one child per family, married couples would resort to abortion, otherwise they would have to pay heavy fines for violating the law of the country.

Normally, abortion is made voluntarily by the consenting mother whereas in China, the government sometimes forces the mother to physically abort the fetus. At other times, the father, parents or boyfriend may have a say in the decision of abortion.

In October 2015, the Chinese government renounced the one child policy and allowed the second child per family.


Kara Rubashkin said...

This is certainly and interesting deviation from the cases of abortion that we discussed in class. China flips Thomson's thought experiment. I think the thought experiment would look something like this:

A people seed blows into your house. Sure, you had screens up, but they could have been faulty, or you could have had a different rug, different home placement etc, but now you have this seed. If you choose to keep the seed in your house, the house will get smaller (monetary punishment). If you vacuum up the seed, the house stays the same size and nothing bad happens. Does your moral responsibility change when the size of your house is dependent on your People Seed choice?

I think it is also worth noting the infanticide that bloomed from this policy. Also, the thousands, maybe even million, or female babies abandoned because of this policy. Having a one-child policy causes so many implications, many of which are associated with abandonment and little to no moral culpability for the parents.

If the government forces the mother into an abortion, I think it is equivalent to having someone break and enter into your house, and take the people seed away, regardless of what you wanted to do with it. That sounds unjust under any paradigm.

Do you think any other nations will implement the one-child policy? Could Japan offer tax incentives to have more children to increase their aging population? Is that morally permissible?

Leona Liu said...

Hey, Kara and Jane,

India is pushing a two-child policy and it has been passed in some of its states already.

I think if a a state enforces policies to encourage more or fewer child birth for some economic or environmental considerations is morally permissible. But it is questionable extreme policies like the one-child policy is morally permissible. Let's make this situation a full-blown one: it is a reoccurring plot that a superb villain / secret organization tries to nuke half of the earth or kill off half of the human population to achieve long term peace or make more resources available to the next generation. This is the ultimate infringement of human autonomy. At the first glance, that seems to be a neat utilitarian way to solve the issues (personally I don't feel queasy for this scenario). Some may argue this will promote people to abandon more moderate positions and try to solve issues with extreme means like mass homicide. Imagine if several agencies are planning similar things, the human races can be wiped off. However, I think Watchmen presented a scenario that is almost perfect. Ozymandias planned to make it seem like that Dr. Manhattan, who is essentially a demi god, nuked all major cities so all humans will have a common enemy who is almost omnipotent. In this case, I would doubt if anyone will try to do the same thing (nuke a lot of places) without knowing that a mortal planned the whole thing out. I would say what Ozymandias planned to do is morally permissible.

Therefore, I would say the same thing for any birth control policies. It is morally permissible if it is well-planned out and will have a positive result. That is not saying I agree with China's one child policy. Controlling child birth might not be a bad idea but they just didn't do it very well.