Reproduction shouldn't be linked with marriage: report
A group comprised of three NGOs has called for granting single women the legal right to have a child, with experts saying that a change in population policy might be needed in view of declining birth rates and rising diversity in the society.
About 86.9 percent of the 2,801 respondents to a questionnaire said they support single women to have reproductive right, and 78 percent agree giving lesbians right to have children, according to a report titled "Single Women's Reproductive Rights - A Research Report on Policy and Lived Experience," released by a group on single women's reproduction rights on Tuesday.
The group is made up of three Chinese NGOs involved in LGBT and gender issues - the Rainbow Lawyers, genderwatch.com and xbpd.org.
According to the regulations of the National Health and Family Planning Commission of China on human-assisted reproductive technology, couples who violate family planning policies and single women are not allowed to use the technology to bear a child.
Moreover, single mothers also face problems in raising children, including the difficulty in getting hukou, or household registration, for their children, in addition to the huge social pressure, according to the report.
Meanwhile, for lesbians, as the nature of the relationship has not been recognized by Chinese laws, they have no access to the human-assisted reproductive technology. Some of them choose to have children abroad by paying more.
"With instability in marriages and diverse lifestyles, many people have changed the traditional view that reproduction should follow marriage," Ke Qianting, a feminism researcher and professor at Sun Yat-sen University, told the Global Times.
Under the current policies, children born in violation of the family planning policy, together with their parents, can hardly enjoy social welfare, such as maternity insurance, maternity leave or education.
The report also suggested that in the context of an aging population, marriage and reproduction should not be bound together anymore.
"The report aims to raise awareness about the issue of single women's right to have children," the initiator of the report and member of the Raibow Lawyers group surnamed Dong told the Global Times, adding that the group would continue to promote the issue.
Ke said that the policy is very likely to change in the future since China needs to reconsider the population management and social welfare systems, as the society is gradually recognizing diversity, while the low fertility rate also needs to be reversed.