China’s family planning roadmap aims to protect national fertility, not ban abortion: experts

Pregnancy photo: VCG

The Chinese Family Planning Association recently rolled out its major tasks for 2022 and sparked controversy among the Chinese public, with some wondering if this meant there could be interventions to prevent women with unwanted pregnancies from getting pregnant. abort. However, experts explained that the report aimed to protect national fertility and public health by preventing unwanted and unexpected pregnancies, rather than forcibly banning abortions.

The report, which was published on the association’s official website on January 28, has been widely commented on on the Internet. Discussion of a campaign of induced abortion interventions for single women has become a trending topic on Weibo, China’s Twitter-like social media platform.

Article 9 of the report mentions that special efforts will be made to respond to the reproductive health problems of specific groups and that special campaigns will be carried out to intervene in abortions among unmarried persons and adolescents in order to combat unintended pregnancies. desired and improve reproductive health.

Huang Wenzheng, a demographics expert and senior fellow at the Center for China and Globalization, told the Global Times on Thursday that the insights put forward in this year’s report are consistent with those of previous years, and the focus is on reducing unwanted pregnancies and abortions through gentle measures, such as reproductive health education. “It can also be interpreted as one of the concrete measures to protect national fertility, but certainly not to ban abortion,” he said.

He Yafu, an independent demographer, made similar remarks, adding that the initiative aims to prevent unwanted pregnancies for unmarried couples, which is in line with the goal that the Chinese Planned Parenthood Association proposed there. some time ago regarding improving fertility services, as multiple abortions can lead to infertility, he told the Global Times on Thursday.

The Blueprint for the Development of Women in China (2021-2030) adopted by the State Council also mentions the reduction of non-medically necessary abortions, the strengthening of quality assurance of health products for women and the standardization infertility treatment and assisted reproductive technologies.

“Induced abortion in China has three characteristics: a large number, a high proportion of repeat abortions, and a large proportion of young women who have never been pregnant,” according to a 2021 article published in the Chinese Journal of Practical. Gynecology and Obstetrics, noting that the annual total of induced abortions has hovered around 9.5 million over the past five years.

Nearly half of women who miscarry are under 25, thepaper.cn reported. In recent years, studies have shown that people under 20 in China already account for a significant share of induced abortions.

According to data released by the National Bureau of Statistics on Jan. 17, the Chinese mainland’s population had increased by only 480,000 since the end of 2020, with the number of newborn babies declining for the fifth consecutive year. mainly due to a continued decline in population. number of women of childbearing age.

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