China has claimed that it will continue the “One-Child-Policy” through another five-year planning period. The policy prevents an increase in the birthrate of China, however both moral and ethical issues arise when taking these measures. Conflicts between health and gender equality cause people to re-examine the ethical viewpoints of the one-child-policy. The article chosen states that the One-Child-Policy should not be implemented to slow population growth in China and is not crucial in maintaining a healthy population on our planet. This post will examine the moral/ethical issues behind China’s One-Child-Policy, and the authors statement will be analysed through a consequentialist and non-consequentalist point of view.
A consequentialist view is one of a utilitarian; one that would judge an issue by determining the moral worth of its actions based on the outcome. In the article “One Child Policy in China Designed to Limit Population Growth”, the author argues that the outcome of the One-Child-Policy is beneficial enough to account for its means. “The rule has been estimated to have reduced population growth in the country of 1.3 billion by as much as 300 million people over its first twenty years.” (Rosenberg, 2009) It is still being questioned if the One-Child-Policy is the sole reason for lowering China’s fertility rate; IUD’s, sterilization, and abortion are China’s most popular forms of birth control, and China has provided education and support for alternative birth control methods more so than many countries in the world. It is not certain, nor will there ever be an end to justify the means of what exact method resulted in a lower fertility rate in women, and a decrease in the Chinese population, however statistically, after the One-Child-Policy was implemented, the population of China decreased by some 300 million people in the first twenty years.
Going along with a non-consequentialist view now, and analysing the One-Child-Policy, we would look at the matter not in terms of the result, but rather by the practice. A deontologist must abide by the rules that are put in place by the government or authority when making decisions. “China has proclaimed that it will continue its one child policy, which limits couples to having one child” (Rosenberg, 2009) The policy is made to limit the number of children allowed per family, however in doing so there is in an excess of boys now in China. Most families are keen on having a boy to carry on the family name, and to aid in financial support. As a result, the one-child-per-family policy has been linked to female infanticide, forced abortions, and selective abortion of female fetuses. Not only are these practices un-safe, they also demonstrate great gender inequality in the population of China. If there is not a mutual respect and desire for both male and female children, China will have an unstable population in the future, and male chauvinist population in the present. Here there is a connection made between the rights of male and female parties. We are to treat both parties with equal respect and equal rights, and by law it is wrong to abort a child based on its sex. The One-Child-Policy may be a way to decrease the population in China, however the actions in doing so may be seen as felonious, therefore not acceptable to a deontologist.
It has been established through the perspective of a consequentialist and non-consequentialist’s that the One-Child-Policy is wrong morally and ethically. The utilitarian’s arguments were based on results gained from studies done on different methods of birth control, which stated that above many countries, China educates their population on birth control methods that causes a decrease in the population without practicing any illicit actions, such as infant abandonment and sex-selective abortions, or favoring a male or female side. The deontologist’s views explained how certain actions, such as the ones listed above which are rooted by the policy, would be viewed as unlawful and thus un-acceptable in society. In conclusion this article uses both viewpoints from a utilitarian and a deontologist to prove the China’s One-Child-Policy is ethically and morally wrong.
Rosenberg M., About.Com:Geography. (2009) “China's One Child Policy
One Child Policy in China Designed to Limit Population Growth” April 12, 2009. http://geography.about.com/od/populationgeography/a/onechild.htm Accessed November 3, 2009.