Deputy: Unmarried Women Have Reproductive Rights

  • March 14, 2014
  • Editor: Yulanda Wang
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A mother with her child out of wedlock []

A mother with her child out of wedlock []

Because they don't have marriage certificates, unwed mothers and divorced women in China cannot apply for birth certificates or a hukou, household registration, for their children.

Hukou: Thorn in Unwed Mothers' Sides

Yu Jun, an unwed mother of a four-year-old girl in Beijing, is facing such a situation. The girl's father left before her birth and never came back.

Yu has turned to the local neighborhood committee and police station for assitance with her daughter's hukou, but no one has been able to help.

Under current regulations, mothers giving birth to children out of wedlock have to pay a penalty and a 'social compensation fee' before they can get a hukou for their child.

Earlier this year, Yu spent 3000 yuan (around US$ 490) for a lawyer to sue her daughter's father. The local court decided that the relevant materials lack the basis for filing.

Are the Current Provisions Legal?

Stricken by the story of Yu, Huang Xihua, a deputy to the National People's Congress (NPC), began looking up the family planning regulations of China's 32 provinces, autonomous regions and municipalities.

Huang found that most of them have imposed social compensation fees on children born out of wedlock. She believes that these provisions are not legitimate.

Therefore, during this year's NPC, Huang decided to submit a proposal to remove social compensation fees on children born out of wedlock, revoking or modifying provincial regulations concerning such fees.

"According to Article 63 of the Legislation Law, provincial and municipal legislatures may enact local regulations that do not conflict with the Constitution, laws, and administrative regulations," she said.

"Articles 17 and 18 of the Population and Family Planning Law state that citizens have the right to give birth and promote couples having only one child, but the law does not have any prohibitions on unmarried childbearing, nor does it impose social compensation fees on children born to a unwed mother," she continued.

Huang considers the regulations concerning such fees to have no legal basis.

In addition, she also believes that these children do not consume additional public resources, so imposing these fees on them does not meet the intent of the administrative charges.

Seeing Into the Future

Although the 'Marriage Law' provides that children born out of wedlock have the same rights as children born in wedlock, they in fact face harsh realities when it comes to hukous, social security and insurance.

"Most unmarried mothers face dual pressures of economic factor and public opinion. Huge social compensation fees will push them into a very difficult situation and exacerbate discrimination against them and their children," she said.

Huang thinks that this is to some extent the reason for illegal abortions, abandoned babies, child trafficking and other social issues.
She suggests that the Legislative Affairs Office of the State Council investigate family planning regulations and other relevant provisions at all levels of administration and try to remove or modify unreasonable documentation.

(Source: Xinhua/Translated and edited by

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