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Crackdown on abortion clinics to start soon

2014-11-28 09:25 Shanghai Daily Web Editor: Qian Ruisha

The Shanghai Health and Family Planning Commission said yesterday it will crackdown on illegal clinics that tell expectant parents the gender of their unborn babies and provide abortions.

The move is designed to counter the imbalance in the city's gender ratio at birth caused by migrant families aborting female fetuses.

The high ratio of boys to girls is mainly due to the rising number of migrant workers having babies in Shanghai, as they favor boys and frequently abort female fetuses, the commission said.

The gender ratio in Shanghai in the first nine months of the year was 112.71 boys to every 100 girls. According to the United Nations, the global "healthy" average is between 103 and 107 boys for every 100 girls.

In 2010, the central government set a target for Shanghai to reduce its ratio to 109.4 boys by 2015. At that time it was 111.05.

In 2011, the figure rose to 113.1, before falling to 112.4 in 2012.

The comparative figures for migrant families living in Shanghai were 119.2 in 2011 and 117.8 in 2012.

Last year, the ratio at birth was 109.6 boys to 100 girls, while the ratio was 105.9 for locals and 114.37 for migrants.

There are now more babies born each year to migrant families than there are to natives, which is skewing the overall ratio, the commission said.

In order to control the birth ratio, authorities said they will crack down on illegal clinics that tell parents the sex of their unborn child and offer abortions if the fetus is female.

"These facilities are getting better at hiding from the authorities and are using more sophisticated technology, which makes the task more difficult," the commission said in guidance notes published on its website.

A campaign targeting such operations will be launched before the end of the year. This will include checks on hospitals' ultrasound equipment, more education and tighter supervision of advertisements for fetus gender checks, it said.

Each district will set its own target, it said.

In the first nine months of the year, just four downtown districts and Chongming County met their gender ratio control targets.

In China, it is illegal to use ultrasound checks to tell the gender of an unborn child unless deemed necessary by a medical condition. Medics who violate the law can have their licenses revoked and hospitals can be punished.

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