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Re-production at Stake: Experiences of Family Planning and Fertility among Amdo Tibetan Women

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Biographical interviews with Tibetan women in rural Amdo (Qinghai Province, China) indicate that many women above 40 years of age experienced family planning as a threat to their reproductive health, social status and economic production. Even though family planning, implemented since 1980, was experienced differently among the targeted women, they nevertheless addressed the same social pressure of having to reconcile normative birth control administered by the Chinese state with Tibetan socio-cultural norms and values of fertility focused upon preferences for sons. Renowned female Tibetan doctors in private and public clinics and hospitals were Tibetan women's preferred and trusted addressees for voluntary birth control and reproductive health. I argue therefore, that in order to understand the effects of family planning on targeted Tibetan women, socio-cultural values of fertility need to be taken into account as they are expressed in women's narratives of their bio-psycho-social, gendered and ethnic selves.


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