Jiangxi implements new rules to prevent sex-selective abortions

Society & Culture

pregnant at 14 weeks and 4 days

Jiangxi Province has introduced a new set of regulations (in Chinese) to prohibit sex-selective abortions, including requiring women who are already 14 weeks pregnant to go through extra procedures to terminate pregnancy.

The guidelines were first announced and posted on the website of Jiangxi’s health and family planning commission on June 15, but the notice didn’t attract much attention until the local newspaper Jiangxi Daily gave coverage to the announcement on June 21.

According to the notice, which is titled “An announcement regarding provincial implementation and supervision of family planning and maternal and child healthcare work,” the province stipulates that abortions after 14 weeks require signed approvals from at least three medical professionals who can provide proof that the procedure would be out of medical necessity. Women who wish to terminate a pregnancy for nonmedical reasons after 14 weeks need to show birth control certificates issued by official institutions. The objective, as the document clearly states, is to crack down on exams that help parents learn about a baby’s sex, which might lead to abortions based on gender preference.

In addition, the announcement requires the establishment of a registration system of pregnant women who receive ultrasound exams; each exam recorded in the system must be signed by at least two medical professionals.

Jiangxin Province, in particular, has been notorious for its strong preference for sons when it comes to childbirth. In this regard, many internet users expressed their endorsement of the decision, seeing it as a way to prevent sex-selective abortion. “Considering that parents are able to find out their baby’s sex usually after 15 weeks of pregnancy, the restriction is obviously an attempt to prevent abortion based on gender preference,” an internet user wrote (in Chinese).

However, many other Weibo users insist that women have a right to make their own decision and should be allowed to have an abortion at any stage of a pregnancy. They also argue that prohibiting sex-selective abortion does little to change the rampant culture of son preference in Jiangxi if there are no accompanying measures to improve gender equality. “I understand that the decision is to fix the skewed gender ratio in Jiangxi, but how about those baby girls who get killed, abandoned, abused, or trafficked after birth?” a Weibo user asked.