China Closes Clinics Telling Baby’s Gender, Led to Sex-Selection Abortions

National   |   Steven Ertelt   |   May 31, 2006   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

China Closes Clinics Telling Baby’s Gender, Led to Sex-Selection Abortions Email this article
Printer friendly page

by Steven Ertelt Editor
May 31, 2006

Shainghai, China ( — The northern Chinese province of Hebei has closed more than 200 clinics that were telling women the sex of their unborn children so they could have abortions of girl babies. The province is one of many rural ones that have significant gender balance issues because of a cultural preference for boys.

The Shanghai Daily said there were 134 boys born for every 100 girls in Hebei compared to about 108 boys born in China for every 100 girls in the early 1980s.

The state newspaper reported that officials found 848 cases of illegal sex-selection abortions occurring as a result of the clinics telling of the baby’s gender.

The newspaper reported that 745 hospitals and clinics were involved in the investigation and, in addition to those closed, another 374 were fined. The government opened legal cases against three medical workers involved in arranging illegal abortions.

China has banned the use of ultrasound for non-medical purposes to tell the gender of an unborn child because of the gender imbalance its forced abortion one-child population control policy has produced. In rural areas where boys are preferred to carry on the family name and run the family farm, sex-selection abortions and infanticide are common.

The latest Chinese census, in April, shows 120 men for every 100 women in the Asian nation, up from 117 per 100 in the 2000 census.

The gender imbalance has grown since the country introduced the population control policies after a post World War II baby boom. The program forced Chinese couples to have only one child and women getting pregnant a second time are often forced to have abortions, fined, imprisoned and they and their husbands and families face significant persecution.

Ironically, population control officials sent portable ultrasound machines to hundreds of cities across the nation in the early 1980s to make sure women who were required to wear a birth control device kept it in. The machines were later used to determine the sex of a baby for an abortion.

But Chinese couples determined to have a son easily get around the new laws as a black market has sprung up of people with ultrasound machines in the trunks of cars or house closets are willing to divulge the sex of an unborn baby for a price.

The gender imbalance problem is particularly severe for younger Chinese.

A CBS News report found a high school in Linchuan, a small village in Jiangxi province in southern China where the problem was especially acute. There are 150 boys for every 100 girls in the school.

The one-child policy is 25 years old and a first generation of Chinese men are looking to marry, but they’re finding it difficult to find women. CBS News interviewed a group of Chinese workers who indicated that poor men have an especially difficult time finding women to date.

To combat the problem, some Chinese are selling their girl babies to those seeking girls for their sons. Chinese officials have uncovered massive baby-selling schemes including finding newborns in bags in the back of trucks and on buses on their way to be sold.

Some poor parents of unwanted newborn girls sell their babies for a little as $8.

Older girls are also being kidnapped and taken to remote parts of the country to be forced into marriage.