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China will now allow married couples to have up to three children instead of only two.

On Monday, China announced that they would remove the two-child law and permit married couples to have a three children family. In 2016, China replaced the one-child family law with the two-child law in hopes to produce higher birth rates. The laws began due to overpopulation but have instead led to decreasing birth rates tremendously as China used to represent the world’s toughest laws concerning reproduction.

How Will This Policy Help Declining Birth Rates?

However, many have noted that currently, it is not the laws restricting how many children a family can have but instead cost deters families from increasing the number of children they might have. When China announced the two-child law in 2016, it did little to promote birth rates. Many worry about starting families due to the country’s culture of working long hours coupled with expensive education and child care. With this in mind, China also announced that maternity leave and other institutions in place in order to ease the minds of those who worry they cannot care for multiple children. These accommodations do not, however, support or encourage single motherhood.

Some note that this law, though encouraging families to have more children, will not work to increase birthing rates just as the two-child policy did not. As stated, many families cannot think about the possibility of having multiple children as they already fret to care for one. However, some believe that it might work to help the decreasing birth rates as perhaps some families would choose to have three children despite limiting circumstances. Since 2016, births have fallen for consecutive years.

Debates Regarding Human Rights

These laws raise concerns about human rights and what government officials can and cannot dictate over families and what they choose to do regarding how many children they wish to have. Some of these concerns note that though this policy is granting more freedom to families and what they wish to do, it is just as concerning as the similar precedent laws restricting what a family could do. This new policy remerges the argument of reproductive rights and also the ideas of when policies concerning the number of children a family has will be removed for good, instead of the number being increased every couple of years.

A woman in a mask holds a young baby watching a crowd.
An older woman in a mask holds a baby as they watch a crowd.

Many believe fully liberating families to allowing them the number of children they can have along with promoting giving birth can help the birth rate instead. This issue, beginning with overpopulation, has been decades old and many believe should be regarded as a crisis for the Chinese nation.

Though the news had been shocking and reintroduced debates among human rights, some families that already had three children were overjoyed that they could introduce children they might have kept secret to the world. This, however, brings up the conversation that families should have never had to fear public shame or discrimination for the number of children they conceived. Many note that though the introduction of three children families might mean a point in the right direction, but the ban should have never taken place and cannot be made right until the complete dismissal of laws surrounding how many children a family has.