The Chinese government issued a regulation recently banning abortion intended to select the sex of the baby.
The regulation, jointly issued by the State Commission for Population and Family Planning, the Ministry of Health and the State Food and Drug Administration, aims to discourage the discriminatory practice of giving preference to male babies over females, Friday's Beijing Daily reported.
According to the regulation, determining the sex of the fetus and then aborting can only be done for medical reasons. No medical organizations or persons are allowed to do so for other reasons or without approval from health departments.
Traditionally in China, boys were more welcome than girls because boys were considered the ones who would carry on the ancestral line. In the past years in some areas, especially rural areas, families would choose to abort to keep only boys.
According to the new regulation, the local health administration department will decide the names of hospitals qualified to perform sex-determining exams and abortions.
When determining the sex of the fetus, the hospital must set up a team of at least three experts. Doctors who perform the procedure must also verify the name of the pregnant woman and have the certificate of diagnosis and other related papers before the abortion.
Abortion-inducing medicine can only be used in the designated hospitals and family planning departments, said the regulation.
The regulation also clarified the punishment for those who violate the regulation.
(Xinhua News Agency March 22, 2003)