China’s lawmakers have rubberstamped new legislation, replacing the ill-fated one-child policy and allowing families to now have two children beginning January of 2016.
The controversial policy being replaced was first implemented in the 1970’s to curb population growth and has been the cause of mandated abortions, sterilizations, and even infanticides in the years since.
The Communist Party leaders released the news of the revised law in October, claiming that it would address the national concerns over “an aging population” in China.
Though some may see this change as a step forward, Amnesty International stated that a small alteration to such a misguided program is “not enough.” William Nee, the organization’s China Researcher, noted that even after the extension in family size, couples will still face controlling, invasive, and potentially dangerous medical procedures and contraceptive measures at the hands of their government.
Both the moral implications and physical risks of such heavy-handed policies are best exemplified by the case of Shen Hongxia, a mother who died in 2013 after complications with a sterilization procedure forced on her by government family planners.
Nee added that “If China is serious about respecting human rights, the government should immediately end such invasive and punitive controls over people’s decisions to plan families and have children.”
Even with this small extension of rights, China is far from addressing the real issues pervading the implementation of this legislation.