No sooner does China end one-child policy than advocate tells us why one-child is a “good thing”

By Dave Andrusko

Pro-Life Rep. Chris Smith (R-NJ) and Reggie Littlejohn, President, Women’s Rights Without Frontiers

Pro-Life Rep. Chris Smith (R-NJ) and Reggie Littlejohn, President, Women’s Rights Without Frontiers

Last week when we posted about a loosening–however small–of the Chinese government’s One Child Policy, we noted there were still many, many problems. The new policy, in theory (how these “promises” work out in practice is another thing) is that married couples can now have a second child.

Pro-life Rep. Chris Smith (R-NJ) noted that “Both the old and ‘new’ policies implement forced abortions, involuntary sterilizations and huge fines. These coercive methods result in a gender imbalance favoring males that drives human trafficking problems region-wide.” Smith, who serves as the Chairman of the Congressional-Executive Commission on China, added, “It remains highly restrictive because it still limits the size of Chinese families, which means it will be enforced coercively. “

Reggie Littlejohn, executive director of Women’s Rights Without Frontiers, noted

Noticeably absent from the Chinese Communist party’s announcement is any mention of human rights. The Chinese Communist Party has not suddenly developed a conscience or grown a heart. Even though it will now allow all couples to have a second child, China has not promised to end forced abortion, forced sterilization, or forced contraception.

Coercion is the core of the policy. Instituting a two-child policy will not end forced abortion or forced sterilization. …

Women will still have to obtain a government-issued birth permit, for the first and second child, or they may be subject to forced abortion.

But, as we also noted last week, there were holdouts–people who believed China’s brutally repressive policy was (as Sarah Conly writes today) “a good thing.” How could anyone who is not an official in the Chinese government, think forced abortion and sterilization is a “good thing”?


Well Conly begins with a throwaway acknowledgement that the policy was “infamous” and

Of course, China has enforced its one-child policy in unacceptable ways. Forced abortions and forced sterilizations are simply assault and clearly violate human rights.


Still, the idea that people should limit the number of children they have to just one is not, I would argue, a bad one, for the Chinese or for the rest of us.

She trots out the usual “population bomb” threats and then reminds us that just as we have free speech we still can’t shout “fire” in a crowded theatre, so, too “we don’t have a right to have so many children.” Get that? I don’t get the analogy.

And for Conly, none of this “compromise”–two kids per couple (although you need slightly more than 2 children per couple just to maintain the population):

We can live happy, fulfilled lives with just one child, and one child per couple will keep the human race going until we get to that point when we do reach a sustainable population and can go back to allowing ourselves to reproduce at replacement value — two children per two parents.

Conly just blows by economic and moral concerns about China’s coercive policy. Of the latter she notes

Others will focus on the moral transgression — believing it will necessitate forced abortions or sterilizations, or the repression of religions that forbid contraception. Others worry that a one-child policy will result in a gender imbalance, as parents opt for a male child. We know this has happened in China, and how much worse that would be if it were worldwide.

Her strawman answer? It is, in a word, bizarre:

Does the right to religious freedom mean we have a right to do whatever our religious doctrines dictate? Of course not. No one thinks that if a religion required, say, human sacrifice, those who follow it would be allowed to engage in ritual killing, no matter how sincere their belief

Pardon? “Forbid[ing] contraception,” whatever that means, is equivalent to human sacrifice and ritual killings and should be opposed with the same vengeance? Yikes.

What about gendercide–sex-selection abortion? Pshaw. It’s not policies that target females that account for the dramatic imbalance between males and females but “sexism.”

Like all good pro-abortion feminists, she would have us do nothing about coercive abortion until females are valued as much as males. Good luck with that.

Conly talks about incentives to have only one child and, of course, the wonderfulness of “technology” and then concludes with this ominous conclusion:

The job of government is not just to give present citizens anything they may want, but to pave the way for a prosperous, stable society for future citizens. Any kind of one-child policy will be unattractive, but the alternative looks to be worse.

This soft-on-coercion mentality has been around since at least the 1950s. It buries itself in qualifiers and “of courses”–of course, we don’t want coercion and abridgment of basic human rights but…

We’re told Conly is an associate professor of philosophy and the author of a new book, “One Child: Do We Have a Right to More.”

Obviously her conclusion is, no, we don’t And restricting that “right” is exactly what gave us China’s One-Child Policy.

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