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|Friday, April 20, 2001, updated at 15:42(GMT+8)|
Does Man Have Right of Childbearing?Not long ago, Sun, a man in his eighties, took his old wife to court and requested a divorce, for the fact that his wife had induced abortion three times when young without his permission and even his knowledge. Now he was old, lonely and unhappy, with no offspring to look after him.
Sun's claim triggered a hot debate among Chinese lawyers. Some said that, according to the Law of PRC on Protection of the Rights and Interests of Women, a woman has the right to decide by herself to have a baby or not. Although Sun's wife aborted their babies rather hastily and without consulting him had resulted in a childless life to Sun, she didn't infringe his right since there was no commitment of "having a baby" reached between them.
Other views voiced were that childbearing was the right of women endowed by nature. Of course men enjoyed such a right though it had never been specifically defined in law. The lonely, childless life of Sun was just a result of deprivation of childbearing right.
So the question was raised: Does a man have the right of birth? If he does, how to guarantee it?
Recognized by law"Every citizen enjoys the right of birth according to law". This is a clause included in the draft of population and family planning law now under consideration. This means that man's birthright has been clearly defined by law, according to Wu Changzhen, a professor and marriage law expert from China University of Political Science and Law.
Needless to doubtAn online poll tells some 70 percent netizens hold that man has the right of childbearing. Legally speaking, man has not been deprived of such a right. The current law emphasized woman has the right of having or not having a child, but didn't deprive man's right of having a child, said professor Wu. This was because in the past many women couldn't fulfil their birthright, especially their no-birth right, and therefore should be particularly protected.
Cannot be solved by legal principleZhai Yan, director of a woman psychological consultation center in Beijing, said "we have many calls on this question from men and women". Usually man claims his right but woman says man just enjoys rights without fulfilling his duties. For a woman, her duty is to get pregnant, give birth, feed and look after, educate and guard her offspring. These almost fill up woman's life so the birthright should be centered on woman.
Wang Yibing, a male and Beijing lawyer, said "one's legal capacity doesn't mean he has the capacity of disposition to realize his rights". Realization of birthright depends on other rights, and when exercising one's rights no others' rights are to be infringed. That is, man can not exercise his birthright without woman's birthright, while when exercising it one is not allowed to infringe woman's no-birth right. However, when woman exercises her no-birth right, is she infringing upon man's birthright? Many law experts hold that birthright is a kind of reflection of marital relationships and can not be solved by legal principle or simply by defining the rights of either side.
Collision between legal and moral principlesMan's social duty is material production versus woman's material production plus reproduction, so law gives protection to woman's privilege based on sexual equality. Man's birthright could not be enforced by court despite legal recognition. According to Wu, the only way to guarantee man's birthright is understanding and communication between husband and wife. If you bring it to court, it can only serve as ground of divorce--incompatibility caused by birthright.
Pressured by his family, Sun, mentioned at the beginning of the article, had withdrawn his action, for practically he just wanted to divorce his wife he remarried for unknown reasons rather than "birthright".
"In law, marriage is a kind of commitment --commitment to love, so under this is there any problem that can not be solved?" As a law expert, Wu selected very emotional words.
By PD Online Staff Li Heng
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