Chinese City Seeks to Fine Unwed Mothers

Chinese city plans to fine unmarried mothers.

In the United States, having a child out of wedlock hardly carries the stigma it once did. If a single woman has an unplanned pregnancy, she is more likely to consider keeping the baby and does not feel the need to hide her pregnancy. We also are seeing more women starting families without a significant other in the picture via In vitro fertilization and other means. There is even a reality show called, “Pregnant and Dating,” not traditional by any means. This just shows how far our society has come.

On the other hand, China is not so tolerant. The country that is known for its infamous One Child policy, is now singling out unwed mothers. If the policy is approved, individuals in Wuhan city who purposely have a child out of wedlock or who have a child with someone who is married to someone else will be forced to pay a “social compensation fee”– the same fee charged to families who break the one child policy. The government believes this new policy of fining unwed mothers will aid in keeping the birth rate low.

Some fear that instead of achieving the desired results, this policy will result in more abandoned babies, similar to the recent baby that was found in a sewer in Zhejiang province. The mother of this baby became pregnant as a result of an affair, could not afford an abortion, and hid her pregnancy. She claims she did not purposely abandon her baby and that he slipped into the sewer by accident.

Hubei province, where Wuhan city is located, charges a social compensation fee that is three times the average annual disposable income. So what happens if the unwed mother cannot afford the fee? I’m curious how the government would handle those situations. I also wonder what the government’s definition of “purposely having a child” is. This could be interpreted in different ways. Are rape victims exempt from the policy?

Do you think this practice of fining unwed mothers is discriminatory? Or, do you think the government has good intentions to attempt to lower the birth rate and encourage individuals to take the more traditional route when it comes to raising a family?


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