Abortions based on gender selection will remain legal in China after lawmakers could
Sex-selection abortions still legal in China
26 June 2006 12:36
Abortions based on gender selection will remain legal in China after lawmakers could not agree on a planned law to criminalise the practice, state press reported on Monday.
The planned amendment to the criminal law would have allowed jail sentences of up to three years for people involved in abortions based on the sex of the foetus, the China Daily reported.
However, "big differences" remain over the amendment, the newspaper cited Zhou Kunren, a senior official with the National People's Congress Standing Committee, as saying.
Some lawmakers had pushed for the law to rectify the significant gender imbalance in China's population, a result of the one-child policy that was introduced in 1979.
"However, other experts argue it is inappropriate to criminalise such practices because pregnant women [should] enjoy the right to know the sex of the foetus," the China Daily said, summarising the debate among lawmakers.
In China, where sons are traditionally preferred, many prospective parents have elected for an abortion if tests have shown a female foetus.
As a result there are 119 boys born for every 100 girls in China, much higher than a global ratio of 103-107 boys for 100 girls, and the trend is expected to continue over the next 20 years, a government study said last week. -- AFP