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Lawmakers call on ban of fetus sex selection
Updated: 2005-02-27 23:17

Doctors would now face criminal prosecution if they reveal the sex of a fetus expectant parents for non-medical reasons, according to suggestions proposed by Chinese lawmakers.

On the 14th meeting of the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress (NPC), the Chinese top legislature, members proposed the revision of the Criminal Law.

Many lawmakers said they were concerned about the abnormal ratio of male to female babies born in China, which is 119/100 and even 130/100 in some regions.

Chinese people, especially those in rural areas, have a long tradition of preferring boys over girls, because sons historically supported their parents in old age.

Since China launched the family planning policy in late 1970s, this preference resulted in many parents choosing to abort the pregnancy if the doctor told the couple they would have a daughter.

Chinese Health Ministry issued a regulation to prohibit doctors from revealing the sex of a fetus for any non-medical reason. But there remains many medical workers who disobey the order and face administrative penalties and not criminal charges.

China's current Criminal Law does not include clauses on the crime of illegally revealing fetus sex information or abandoning female fetuses.

"The chaos in fetus sex detection has caused a serious imbalance in the sex ratio, which has resulted in serious social problems. We must prevent this terrible scenario by adding related clauses into the Criminal Law," Xu Zhihong, member of the NPC Standing Committee and also the president of the prestigious Beijing University, said.

NPC deputy Wei Lihui, a famous doctor, also showed her support of the revision. She said criminal sanctions are necessary to deter the doctors who defy the ban.

Chinese central government has taken various measures to correct the sex ratio imbalance such as rewarding farmers who followed the family planning policy.

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