Premarital physical examinations should be provided free of charge to encourage participation, says an article in Nanguo Morning Post. An excerpt follows:
A few days ago, northeast China's Heilongjiang Province passed its revised law covering mother and infant health care to make premarital health checks compulsory.
Premarital physical examinations have a direct bearing on the happiness of newly-weds and the health of their newborn children. They affect the future of the nation and the overall health of the entire population. For these reasons the adoption of compulsory premarital check-ups should not be ignored when State policies are drawn up.
Many place individual freedom before all else and claim physical examinations before marriage should be optional. They are also put off by the practices of some hospitals that see the compulsory introduction of the examinations as a great opportunity to make money.
Both supporters and opponents have strong arguments, and not all of their points are incompatible. At least no one wants to see a growing number of newborn babies with congenital diseases. This common concern must be addressed properly.
Most of those against premarital check-ups are not opponents of the procedure itself they simply do not want it to be compulsory. However, past experience has shown the number of couples choosing to undergo physical examinations plummets as it is made optional.
Loopholes in the current premarital physical examination system leave room for certain parties to make tidy profits.
Premarital physical examinations are conducive to the health of the entire population and everyone should be encouraged to undergo the procedure. Therefore, it is best to make it compulsory but free of charge, with the government picking up the bill.
(China Daily July 25, 2005)