Contact Us | About Us | DMCA | Terms of Use | Privacy Policy

China to clamp down on abortions for ‘non-medical purposes’ | China

Spread the love

China’s pledge to limit abortions puts women’s bodies under the state’s control just as the one-child policy did and could endanger the lives of women seeking abortions, rights groups have said.

The Chinese government announced on Monday that it would seek to reduce abortions for “non-medical reasons” – a move seen as being in line with its attempts to accelerate birthrates.

Government guidelines did not provide detail on what constitutes a non-medical abortion.

Yaqiu Wang, China researcher for Human Rights Watch, said: “This government in the past 40 years has tried to restrict women’s reproductive rights, making women forcefully abort their children and now restricting abortions. I don’t know what non-medical means, but everyone who knows Chinese government knows this isn’t good.

“The core of the policy is the same – to restrict women’s reproductive means, to see women as a tool. Now there’s an ageing population, a not large enough labour force, so we need more babies. It’s the same: seeing women as a tool for economic goals.”

Yaqiu Wang said what the government defined as non-medical reasons and how the rules would be implemented was unclear, but that the move could endanger the lives of women who were denied abortions. “Around the world a lot of women die from not having safe access to abortions,” she said.

Amnesty’s China researcher Kai Ong, said: “The Chinese government has a record of enforcing birth policies that blatantly violate reproductive rights, such as implementing forced birth control measures and limiting women’s access to healthcare. This announcement could further restrict women’s access to sexual and reproductive healthcare, especially for unmarried women and same-sex couples.

“The proposed decrease of ‘non-medical abortion’ is one of the measures announced in the latest Outline for Women’s Development in China. The legislative and policy implications of this plan are still unclear.”

In the new guidelines set by China’s state council relating to women’s development, it simply listed “reduce non-medical abortion” under the section on improving women’s reproductive health. It said the measures would stop unwanted pregnancies and encourage men to “share responsibility” in preventing them.

“The basic national policy of gender equality and the principle of giving priority to children needs to be implemented in depth,” said Huang Xiaowei, deputy director of the State Council’s National Working Committee on Women and Children.

China’s health authorities claimed in 2018 that abortions to end unwanted pregnancies harmed women’s bodies and risked causing infertility.

For decades, China enforced a one-child policy to control its growing population, but it has now reversed its approach as it attempts to tackle declining birthrates, allowing a couple to have up to three children from May – “to actively respond to the ageing of the population”.

Figures released this year showed that births in China fell in 2020 by almost two million, from 11.8 million to 10 million.

Yaqiu Wang said she expected there to be a reaction to the new policy, especially after the decision to introduce a three-child policy was mocked on social media after the long period of restriction.

“They were angry because they were saying that in the past you were restricting my reproductive rights, my autonomy, now you’re trying to modify your mistake while still restricting my rights,” she said.

Like it? Share with your friends!

The Groucho

Contact Us| About Us | DMCA | Terms of Use | Privacy Policy