China Vows to Crack Down on Sex-Selective Abortions

China is vowing a heavy crackdown on sex-selective abortions in an effort to balance the country's skewed sex ratio, Xinhua news agency reported, citing a government plan released Monday.

The Outline for the Development of Chinese Children (2011-2020) said efforts will be made to "eliminate discrimination against girls" in a country that values male heirs because they ensure the preservation of the family's bloodline. This belief has caused many to undergo illegal sex-selective abortions in the face of China's one-child policy.

The plan, according to Xinhua, said "using ultrasonic techniques to conduct non-medical sex determination" should be prohibited, and provided the opportunity for family planning policies, which have been in place for about three decades, to be loosened and changed.

These changes have already begun in many areas in China. If both members of a couple come from a one-child family, the couple may be permitted to have two children. Some rural areas also allow couples to have a second child if their first child is a female, the news agency reported.

According to China's latest census, released in April, the male-female ratio at birth is about 119 males to 100 females. In most industrialized countries, the ratio is about 107 males to 100 females.

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