Saturday, August 25, 2007

China Planning New Laws Against Aborting Girls

China plans tougher laws on sex-selective abortions
BEIJING (AFP) - Fearing the approach of a ticking "bachelor bomb," China is planning tougher laws against sex-selective abortions that have boosted the number of boys in recent years, state media said Saturday.

The State Council, or cabinet, is drafting special regulations that specify punishments for parents and doctors who abort foetuses after discovering they are female, the Xinhua news agency reported.

Abortions motivated merely by gender are already illegal in China but existing laws do not specify the punishment for such acts, according to Xinhua, which gave no timetable for the new rules...

In some parts of China, sex-selective abortions have created a situation where there are more than three boys for every two girls, Xinhua said in a separate report.

In a particularly striking example, there are 163.5 boys for every 100 girls in the city of Lianyungang in east China's Jiangsu province, according to Xinhua...

It is possible that part of the highly unusual sex ratio in China could reflect the practice of keeping girls secret from the authorities, allowing parents to try again in the hope of gaining a son.

Girls that are not registered will face severe problems in future as they are unlikely to attend school.

However, it is highly likely that a large proportion of the girls are dead, having fallen victim to the widespread use of ultra-sound equipment for determining the sex of unborn embryos...

Under the one-child policy, introduced in about 1980, China's urban dwellers are allowed one child, while rural families can have two if the first is a girl.

Ruthless enforcement has triggered widespread opposition, especially in the countryside where children are valued as additional economic muscle.

Riots have broken out against forced abortions and other measures, such as heavy fines, the destruction of homes and confiscation of property.


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