China Will Ban Sex-Selection Abortions to Curb Gender Imbalance

National   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Jan 7, 2005   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

China Will Ban Sex-Selection Abortions to Curb Gender Imbalance Email this article
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by Steven Ertelt Editor
January 7, 2005

Beijing, China ( — Just one day after hitting the 1.3 billion population mark, Chinese officials say they will ban sex-selection abortions in order to curb the growing gender imbalance problem caused by the country’s coercive one-child population control policy.

The gender imbalance has grown since the Asian country introduced the population control policies after a post World War II baby boom. Because they are prohibited from having more than one child, some Chinese families opt for abortions when ultrasounds reveal a girl baby.

Rural Chinese often kill newborn infant girls as men are preferred to work farms and carry on the family line.

According to the 2000 census, there were about 117 males to 100 females in China and the latest government statistics show it at 119 to 100. For second births, occasionally allowed in rural areas, the national ratio was about 152 to 100.

The average rate worldwide is 106 boys born for every 100 girls and girls are born more often than boys in some industrialized nations.

Zhang Weiquing, a minister in charge of family planning, told the official Xinhua news agency, "The government takes it as an urgent task to correct the gender imbalance of newborns."

"As a new measure, the commission will start drafting revisions to the Criminal Law in order to effectively ban fetus gender detection and selective abortion other than legitimate medical purposes," Zhang said.

China has drawn significant concerns worldwide because of the forced abortions, sterilizations and human rights abuses that population control officials use to enforce the one-child policy.

A recent Congressional hearing focused on the case of Mao Hengfeng, a woman who has been sentenced to 18 months in a labor prison camp for her fifteen years-long battle with the Chinese government after she lost her job when she became pregnant a second time.

She was also coerced into having an abortion after officials claimed she would receive her old job as a result. Instead, she was jailed and has been beaten and tortured

Just weeks after a Congressional committee held hearing on Mao Hengfeng’s forced imprisonment, a human rights watchdog group says the woman, who has protested their population control policy, will remain in prison an additional three months.

The gender imbalance led China’s Guizhou Province last month to prohibit some late-term abortions and to stop ultrasounds from being used for gender identification for nonmedical purposes in an attempt to stem the tide of sex-selection abortions.