China: new rules to prevent sex-selective abortions raise fears

Source: The Guardian

By Lily Kuo

New rules restricting abortions in a Chinese province have prompted concern from citizens and activists over state control of women’s bodies.

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Jiangxi province issued guidelines last week stipulating that women more than 14 weeks pregnant must have signed approval from three medical professionals confirming an abortion is medically necessary before any procedure. The measures are meant to help prevent sex-selective abortions, which are illegal in China. The sex of a child is often discernible after 14 weeks.

“Your womb is being monitored,” said one comment on the Weibo microblogging website. “What is the purpose and basis of this policy? The reproductive rights of women in this country seem to be a joke,” said another. One user wrote simply, “The Handmaid’s Tale,” referring to the TV series set in a dystopian future where women’s reproductive functions are tightly controlled by the state.

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