China says it will cut “non-medical” abortions
BEIJING, Sept.27 (Reuters) – China to reduce the number of abortions performed “for non-medical purposes,” the country’s cabinet said in new guidelines released on Monday that it said aimed to improve women’s reproductive health .
China has already adopted strict measures to prevent gender-selective abortions, and health officials also warned in 2018 that using abortion to end unwanted pregnancies was harmful to women’s bodies and risked causing infertility.
The State Council said the new guidelines would also aim to improve women’s overall access to pre-pregnancy health care services.
Data from the National Health Commission showed that between 2014 and 2018, there was an average of 9.7 million abortions per year, an increase of about 51% over the 2009-2013 average. despite a relaxation of family planning policies in 2015. The data do not specify how. many abortions were for medical reasons.
It was not immediately clear whether Monday’s new measures were aimed at tackling the declining birth rate in China, which think tanks and policy researchers have identified as one of its main social policy challenges in decades to come.
Although China remains the most populous country in the world, the latest census showed that population growth from 2011 to 2020 was the slowest since the 1950s, and is expected to slow even more within a few years.
After years of trying to limit population growth, Beijing is now promising new policies to encourage families to have more children.
He said in June that he would now allow all couples to have three children instead of two. New policies designed to reduce the financial burden of educating children are also being put in place.
Reporting by Roxanne Liu and David Stanway; Editing by Kim Coghill, Simon Cameron-Moore and Raju Gopalakrishnan
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