China’s government is coming under fire for considering an unmarried mothers fine, which they say will help with proactive family planning and keep the birth rate low. Critics charge that the fine will lead to tragedy, with more babies being abandoned or aborted.
State media reported Monday that legislation being considered would fine unmarried mothers steeply with something called a “social compensation fee.” The draft was written by family planning officials in Wuhan, the capital of the Hubei province.
Critics say that the legislation is designed to target women who “knowingly have children out of wedlock” according to the Global Times.
The laws are meant to ”intensify family planning management and keep the birth rate at a low level” and were apparently drafted in light of the case of Baby 59, a newborn discovered in a sewage pipe in the Zhejiang province.
The unnamed mother reportedly delivered her baby in a communal bathroom due to the negative stigma attached to single mothers. She said that the boy’s biological father rejected the baby, which led her to try to hide her pregnancy.
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Bloggers and academics have roundly rejected Wuhan’s unmarried mothers fine. One Chinese demographer called the proposed legislation an attempt to ”regulate [moral] behavior.”
“The regulation is ridiculous,” said Wang Qiong, a professor at Wuhan University. ”What if a woman chooses to have a test-tube baby without getting married? Should she also be fined?”
On Weibo, China’s Twitter-esque microblog, one user remarked: ”Single mothers are already subjected to social discrimination and now they are thinking of fining them. They [Wuhan officials] have lost their minds [and are just] trying to make more money.”