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Page history last edited by PBworks 14 years, 4 months ago

Back to Eugenics


Abortion Law Chronology


  • 1880 - Abortion becomes a criminal act
  • 1940 - "National Eugenic Law"
  • 1970 - First revision bill of the Eugenic Protection Law
  • l996 - Maternal Protection Law takes effect


Abortion and Japan's Declining Birthrate


Opposing the Abortion Prohibition Law

Revision of the Eugenics Protection Law (a.k.a. The Eugenics Protection Act)

  • The proposed revisions would eliminate the "mother's health and economic reasons" clause from the legal reasons to have an abortion


Government Position on Abortion: Combatting the Falling Birth Rate

  • Declining birth rate and countermeasure


The declining birth rate means a fall in the number of children. A total specific birth rate, the total ! number of children a woman bear during her lifetime, declined to 1.38 in 1998, breaking the record low level. A major cause of the falling birth rate is a rise in the number of unmarried women against a background of increasing burden on women resulting from their work and child-care. The declining birth rate is expected to have a serious effect on the economy and society as it leads to a decrease in the work force and an increase in the ratio of the elderly in the total population. It is important to look at this problem from the viewpoint that we must ease or remove women's burden of both work and child-care or child-care only, develop various environments where they can raise children free from worry, and build a society where they can have a dream and hope for their family and child-care.


  • Measure against the declining birth rate


From such a viewpoint, the Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare is promoting a series of measures against the declining birth rate. In consultation with other ministries and agencies concerned, the ministry worked out a "concrete plan to implement a priority measure for the declining birth rate (New Angel Plan) at the end of 1999. The ministry is also scheduled to set a target for the improvement of the child-care service and the mother-child health insurance medical care system by fiscal 2004 and to work toward that goal as planned. In the meantime, the Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare awards "Special grant for measures against the declining birth rate" (a total of yen200 billion budget for fiscal 1999) to support such efforts being made by the local governments according to the actual condition of the local communities. The ministry is also promoting an anti-declining birth rate measure designed to obtain a nationwide understanding and support by holding "National conference for the promotion of measures against the declining birth rate."

Furthermore, the ministry is conducting public relations to enlighten people on the joint responsibility of the father and mother for child-care and the importance and the joy of child-care through mass media such as posters, TV commercials and newspaper advertisements.

(Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare, 2003)

Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare Reports


Opposing Groups


  • Rationale: "Treating women as baby-machines, whether the children are to be soldiers or to be a boost in the declining population (so that Japan can muscle the labor power for rearmament), is unjust, and women must act now to protect their bodies and their rights!"

Disabled Interest Groups

  • Rationale: "Aborting disabled/handicapped fetuses in order to produce a 'good stock' is an offense to the disabled/handicapped community---we have every right to be here!"

Lib Shinjuku Center

  • "Because of the shortages of houses, low wages, poor welfare and pollution, we can't give birth to children even if we want children. The large scale enterprises and the gov't have been clamoring to increase industrial efficiency while totally ignoring these problems."

(Lib Shinjuku Center "Abolish the Eugenic Protection Law" phamplet)

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