World News

China calls for restriction on abortion


Only medically-necessary procedures should be undertaken, State Council says.

China said Monday that it is restricting abortions to medically-necessary ones.

The directive was a brief sentence in a much larger plan published by the State Council, China’s cabinet, to improve women’s health.

Steven Mosher, president of the Population Research Institute, conceded that Monday’s directive is a good sign, but cautioned that “it is not done out of compassion for the unborn.”

Many observers saw the State Council’s move as part of an attempt to boost lagging population growth to head off an expected “demographic winter.” Mosher was no exception, saying the plan is to “try and avert the looming demographic disaster that faces China, brought on by the decades-long one-child policy.”

This year, Beijing said it would allow couples to have three children, up from the one-child restriction implemented in 1980 and the two-child policy of 2015.

“Although China remains the world’s most populous nation, the latest census showed population growth from 2011 to 2020 was the slowest since the 1950s,” the Guardian reported. “The population is expected to start to decline within a few years.”

National Health Commission data showed that between 2014 and 2018, there had been an average of 9.7 million abortions per year, Reuters noted. That’s up about 51% from the 2009-2013 average. The commission didn’t specify how many abortions were for medical reasons.

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