China Intends To Launch “Special Campaign” To Intervene With Abortions

After China’s birth rate hit a record low last year, a state-backed family planning agency announced this week that it would be rolling out a “special campaign” to “intervene” in abortions.

According to the China Family Planning Association’s work plan for 2022, it will be implementing its strategy this year to actively “intervene” in abortions for unmarried people.

This plan has been touted as a way to “improve and promote reproductive health.” Per the association, the campaign will involve pilot projects to “promote positivity around marriage and childbirth.” It will also “advocate for marriages in villages” with a slew of slogans and “grassroots outreach” to “guide the masses” in their family planning. 

The campaign to reduce the number of abortions in China comes as the country hits a record low birth rate. According to the Chinese National Bureau of Statistics, China’s birth rate dropped for the fifth year in a row in 2021, which could soon lead to a shrinking population. 

The Chinese government announced a landmark policy shift in May to combat its flagging birth rate, changing its two-child policy and allowing couples to have as many as three kids. However, it is unclear if this policy shift will make a dent in China’s declining birth rate, with Chinese youth resisting the idea of starting families, citing the high costs of bearing and raising kids and their fast-paced “9-9-6” lifestyle as reasons for not wanting to reproduce

Abortion is legal in China, and the Chinese government has not made any official moves to restrict abortions by law. However, the state council issued guidelines on abortion in September last year, stating that to “improve women’s reproductive rights,” abortions for non-medical reasons should be reduced, mandating that women present medical reasons for having the procedure.

According to a report from the Chinese government’s Population and Development Research Center, a branch of the country’s national health commission, an average of nine million abortions were performed in the country every year from 2005 to 2017. However, the report noted that the number might be far closer to 13 million procedures per year, counting an additional four million abortions performed in private clinics and hospitals. 

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