New problems:Two babies in a park in Beijing. China scrapped the “one-child” policy last year.
A few months after Lu Qiumei gave birth to her daughter in 2012, officials visited her home and told her she was required to be fitted with an intrauterine device.
For more than three decades, this was national policy in China. The IUD was the government’s most important tool for limiting couples to one child, and almost all new mothers were required to get one.Ms. Lu considered the demand invasive and potentially harmful to her health. Still, like hundreds of millions of Chinese women, she had one put in.
Now, a year after abandoning the “one-child” policy, the government is hoping to make it up to Ms. Lu and millions of women like her — by removing their IUDs for free. But the offer, made without an apology, has provoked outrage.
While IUDs elsewhere can often be removed with the tug of their strings in a doctor’s office, surgery is usually needed in China because most devices are designed or altered to be more difficult to extract. But many Chinese women have chafed at the thought of the government’s getting involved, yet again, in their private lives. And for many mothers, the offer has come too late for them to consider having a second child. China began demanding that women be fitted with an intrauterine device after they had one child, and sterilised after they had two, in the early 1980s. From 1980-2014, according to official statistics, 324 million Chinese women were fitted with IUDs.
Last year, confronting an ageing population and a shrinking workforce, President Xi Jinping decided to scrap the policy.
To that end, the government said 18 million women would be eligible for the free removal of IUDs in the next three years. — New York Times News Service