China Will Step Up Enforcement of Laws Against Sex-Selection Abortion

International   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Jan 22, 2007   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

China Will Step Up Enforcement of Laws Against Sex-Selection Abortion Email this article
Printer friendly page

by Steven Ertelt Editor
January 22
, 2007

Beijing, China ( — On a day when hundreds of thousands of Americans are lining the streets of Washington to protest 34 years of legalized abortion, China’s political leaders say they will do more to stop sex-selection abortions there and to correct a growing gender imbalance that its one-child family planning program has yielded.

The official Chinese news agency Xinhua reported on Monday that the government will increase enforcement of laws designed to prohibit the use of ultrasounds to determine the sex of an unborn child.

Xinhua says the Central Committee of the ruling Communist Party and the State Council, or cabinet, has issued a new document saying anyone running afoul of the gender identification laws should face "serious punishment."

"The document said the gender-ratio imbalance, which has been developing for some time, amounts to ‘a hidden danger’ for society that will ‘affect social stability,’" the government news service reported.

Authorities will also step up monitoring hospitals and other medical facilities to ensure ultrasound isn’t improperly used or that the abortion pill is given out only for purposes of a sex-selection abortion.

Last year China scrapped plans to prohibit sex-selection abortions altogether but has put forward educational campaigns telling Chinese of the virtue of girl babies.

China currently has a male-female ratio of 119-100 while the number is closer to 103-100 in most industrialized nations.

As a result, large numbers of Chinese man are finding it difficult to get married. The general imbalanced has also caused an increase in crime, selling of girl babies, prostitution and forcing women into sexual slavery or domestic positions.

Because Chinese couples are limited to one child, abortion and infanticide are frequently used to ensure that child is a boy. That is especially the case in rural areas where boys are preferred because of their ability to carry on the family name or run the family farm.

Some girls are even sold or given away in order for Chinese families to have one son to comply with the family planning rules.

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.

As a result, the skewed male-female ratio is growing worse as there are 130 boys to 100 girls in the provinces of Guangdong and Hainan.

China instituted the coercive family planning policy in 1979 and Chinese women and families have been the victims of an intense campaign ever since that has involved forced abortions and sterilizations, and the arrest and harassment of those who resist it.

But the policy has caused the gender imbalance to explode.

Ironically, China distributed ultrasound machines to local clinics on a wide scale after the coercive family planning policy was instituted to ensure women were not pregnant and violating the one-child program.

Despite the problems, Xinhua reported Monday that the new document says the one-child policy and reducing the number of people in China is still a priority.

"Maintaining a low birth rate is the priority of family planning during the next phase," it said.