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China Wants to Reduce Abortions That are Not Medically Necessary

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Beijing called on Monday to reduce abortions “that are not medically necessary”. For example, the country with the largest population wants to increase the birth rate and encourage couples to have more children.

 

The Chinese government has issued new guidelines on women’s sexual health, requiring health professionals to “promote pre-marital checkups and pre-pregnancy checkups” and “limit abortions that are not medically necessary.” However, how this should work is not clarified. The guidelines cover the period from 2021 to 2030.

The guidelines are notable because they contrast with the birth control introduced by the Communist Party in 1979. Then, rural women, in particular, were forced to have an abortion during a second pregnancy. It was not until 2015 that the one-child policy was converted to a ‘two-child policy’.

After the results of the latest Chinese census became known, the Chinese government raised the limit to three children. Beijing wants to raise the birth rate sharply. Falling birth rates and an ageing population threaten to affect the Chinese economy seriously.

China has a fertility rate of barely 1.3. To maintain the population, a woman must have 2.1 children. According to the rumour mill, the contraction has even started, and the count would have shown that the number of Chinese has fallen below 1.4 billion. The unrest about this would be very great at the top of the Communist Party.

However, many young Chinese are reluctant to have children, let alone three, because they work long hours and commute a lot. This is because housing and raising children costs a lot of money or because they are only children themselves and have to take care of their parents. Chinese women also cite the unequal treatment of their sex in the workplace as an obstacle to having (multiple) children.

When increasing the number of children per family, the Chinese government announced that “supportive measures will be introduced to help improve the population structure”. The new guidelines announced on Monday seem to tie in with that promise.

In addition to focusing on restricting abortion, they must give women better access to education, jobs and senior positions in government, among other things. In addition, China wants to provide better sex education and provide lessons on preventing unwanted pregnancies.

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