Now, instead of requiring permission to give birth, women in southern China’s Jiangxi Province require permission to have an abortion.
Introduced in 1980, China’s infamous one-child-policy resulted in a massive decrease in the population and led to an imbalanced sex ratio as parents-to-be aborted or abandoned their baby daughters. Today, there are an estimated 40 million more men in China than women.
Though the policy was relaxed in 2015 to allow two children per couple, the Chinese birth rate has continued to drop. Under current trends, China’s population, now 1.4 billion, is expected to peak at around 1.45 billion in 2030 and begin to decrease. According to the Chinese government, a quarter of the population will be 60 years old or older by then.
On June 21, the family planning authorities of Jiangxi Province issued a notice requiring women to get official approval if they wished to have an abortion past 14 weeks of pregnancy. The new regulation requires three medical professionals to prove that the abortion is necessary for the woman’s health. Otherwise, they need direct approval from the family planning agency, Voice of America reported.
China’s family planning agencies, which employ over a million officials, were responsible for enforcing the one-child policy. Particularly at the beginning of the policy’s implementation, family planning staff brutally forced pregnant women to have abortions.
In pregnancy, 14 weeks is the time around which the baby’s gender can be detected. Because of this, some observers say the new regulations are meant to prevent families from aborting their female children in hopes of trying again for a son.