China’s cabinet on Monday announced plans to reduce the number of abortions performed in the country, particularly for situations involving “non-medical purposes.”
The State Council issued new guidelines that said efforts will be taken to reduce the number of unwanted pregnancies, and to urge men to “share responsibility” in preventing such situations, according to Reuters.
The ruling body said it will also work to improve sex education and bolster post-abortion and post-childbirth family planning services.
“The basic national policy of gender equality and the principle of giving priority to children need to be implemented in depth,” said Huang Xiaowei, deputy director of the State Council's National Working Committee on Women and Children, according to Reuters.
The new policy comes as data surfaces showing that the population growth in China slowing. The country’s National Bureau of Statistics released new statistics in May that showed that the birth rate in China dropped in 2020, marking the fourth year in a row that the rate fell.
The country saw 12 million births last year, causing China’s total population to increase slightly to 1.41 billion.
Earlier this year China dropped its decades-old two-child policy that for years had stunted the country’s population growth. All married couples in the country are now permitted to have three children.
It was not immediately clear, however, if the council’s announcement was meant to combat the declining birth rate, Reuters noted.
Chinese policy already has parameters in place to prevent sex-selective abortions, which have been condemned for deepening gender inequality in the country, the news wire reported.