China toughens fetus testing bans

Updated: 2014-08-11 21:08


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China's top family planning body has finished a draft amendment to rules on illegal gender testing for fetuses and subsequent abortions, finding better ways to implement the bans, Southern Metropolis Daily reported Monday.

The National Health and Family Panning Commission (NHFPC) is pressing ahead with the amended rules because China is lagging behind in goals to achieve a 100:115 gender ratio for newborns by 2015. This ratio would mean there are 100 female newborns for every 115 males.

The current gender ratio is 100:117.6, much higher than a 100: 103-107 gender balance globally believed to be healthy for the society.

On August 7, Luohu District Customs in Shenzhen intercepted 96 blood samples from what were suspected to be pregnant women. A woman was allegedly attempting to leave the country to conduct fetus sex tests abroad.

The arrest came just days after NHFPC had called for intensified combat against fetal sex diagnosis across China at a July 26 meeting.

The high gender ratio at birth is affected by many factors, notably a traditional preference for males, especially in rural areas. China’s one-child policy reinforced this male preference with many parents deciding a single boy would be preferable.

The development of testing techniques has also enabled couples to choose the sex of their child.