Population and family policies in China have shown a remarkable degree of consistency for more than two decades. Family planning services had been government policy since 1953, but were originally seen solely as contributing to better maternal and child health and the status of women. From 1970, when population growth targets were included in the Fourth Five-Year Plan, the aim has been to control and reduce population growth rates through a comprehensive package of interventions. These have included efforts to raise the age of marriage and the status of women; to create a small-family ‘norm’ and to increase old-age security as well as the widespread delivery of contraceptive and abortion services.
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