China’s Supreme Court Sides with Women on Reproductive Rights

The Supreme People's Court has stated unprecedented support for women's right to choose

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Dec 31, 2020 1 mins read

China’s Supreme People’s Court is making waves online, having extended unprecedented support for women’s reproductive rights.

It’s not the first time the new Civil Code — which also endorsed a controversial 30-day “cool-down period” for couples seeking a divorce — has drawn attention online.

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In the past, if a woman terminated her pregnancy without permission, her husband was entitled to request compensation for damages. Under the new guidelines, the People’s Court will no longer support such requests, siding firmly with the woman’s right to choose.

The announcement sparked a heated debate online, with the question “does a woman’s termination of pregnancy without the husband’s consent violate men’s reproductive rights” trending on Weibo.

“Men think they have control over the female reproductive system,” read one highly-upvoted comment. “Why don’t they give birth themselves?”

“You can’t get a divorce, you have to beat someone half to death to be convicted of domestic violence, and now all children must be born,” wrote another user sarcastically.

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China’s 2020 has been saturated with discussions of family relations, gender equality, and women’s rights. Stay-at-home quarantine led to a bump in the divorce rate, furthering the millennial generation’s misgivings about marriage and having children.

A landmark sexual harassment lawsuit breathed new life into the country’s ongoing #MeToo movement, and more recently, stand-up comedian Yang Li’s “man-hating” jokes generated backlash and discussion online.

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