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China cabinet mulling sex-selective abortions ban

[JURIST] China's cabinet, the State Council [official website], is considering a regulation to ban non-medical sex-selective abortions in the country, according to a senior official quoted by state media sources Saturday. Wang Yongqing, deputy head of the Office of Legislative Affairs of the State Council, said that the measure was one of several laws and regulations on family planning on the Council's 2007 legislative agenda. Sex-selective abortion, generally undertaken on female foetuses, is already illegal in China under the Population and Family Planning Law [text; official backgrounder] and the Law on Maternal and Infant Health [text], but no punishments are provided under those statutes.

Earlier this year a committee of the National People's Congress (NPC) [official website, in Chinese] decided not to approve the criminalization of sex-selective abortions [JURIST report], rejecting a proposed amendment to the criminal law that would have punished anyone convicted of involvement in sex-selective abortions with a three-year prison sentence. Supporters of that measure were concerned about the disproportionate number of baby boys born in China – 119 per 100 girls. China's male population currently exceeds its female population by some 37 million. China Daily has more.

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Paper Chase is JURIST's real-time legal news service, powered by a team of 30 law student reporters and editors led by law professor Bernard Hibbitts at the University of Pittsburgh School of Law. As an educational service, Paper Chase is dedicated to presenting important legal news and materials rapidly, objectively and intelligibly in an accessible format.

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