China Announces Plans to Limit Non-Necessary Abortions

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A woman carries a baby through a busy intersection in Beijing on June 2, 2021, days after China announced it would allow couples to have three children. (Image: GREG BAKER/AFP via Getty Images)

The State Council of the People’s Republic of China (PRC) on Sept. 27 announced new guidelines to fight the country’s demographic decline, including limits on “medically non-necessary artificial abortions.” 

Following a 2016 relaxation of the infamous one-child policy to allow two children per married couple, the Chinese government increased the maximum to three this May. On Aug. 17, the government submitted a draft amendment to remove all limits on childbirths between married men and women. 

In its “Outline for the Development of Women in China (2021-2030),” the State Council said it will take action to avoid unwanted pregnancies and encourage men to “share the responsibility” for preventing them. The administration added that it aims to improve sex education and strengthen post-abortion and post-birth family planning services. 

Under Chinese leader Xi Jinping, who came to power in 2012, Beijing has undertaken a stark reversal of the 1979 one-child policy, which communist authorities bragged had prevented 400 million “excess” births through family planning and enforced abortions. 

Data from China’s National Health Commission data showed that there were an average of 9.7 million abortions per year between 2014 and 2018, rising by over 50 percent from the 2009–2013 average even despite Xi’s relaxation of the one-child policy. 

READ MORE:

China Is Considering a Move That Effectively Scraps Population Control

China’s Delayed Census Points to Severe Population Decline

  • Leo Timm is a writer and Chinese-to-English translator with years of experience covering Chinese politics, society, and culture. Follow him on Twitter at @soil_and_grain.