Press Release

15 December 2005

Easing Family Planning Rules Leads to Fewer Abortions and More Baby Girls, Chinese Province Finds

CHANGJIANG, Hainan Province, China — The lifting of birth-spacing rules in Hainan Province, China, has led to fewer abortions and a more balanced sex ratio at birth, reports UNFPA, the United Nations Population Fund.

In a news story on its web site, the Fund notes that a UNFPA-supported policy experiment in one county was adopted by the entire province in December 2004. Rural couples, which are allowed two children under provincial regulations, no longer have to wait four years after their first birth to have a second child.

Officials contend this change, along with economic incentives for families that have only daughters, has reduced the illegal practice of sex-selective abortion. In 2000, Hainan had the country’s highest ratio of male to female infants; today health providers say there is a more natural balance.

UNFPA calls for integrated, client-centred reproductive health and voluntary family planning services based on the principle of informed choice. The Hainan developments offer new evidence that this advocacy effort in China is having an impact.

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UNFPA, the United Nations Population Fund, is an international development agency that promotes the right of every woman, man and child to enjoy a life of health and equal opportunity. UNFPA supports countries in using population data for policies and programmes to reduce poverty and to ensure that every pregnancy is wanted, every birth is safe, every young person is free of HIV/AIDS, and every girl and woman is treated with dignity and respect.

Contact Information:

Bangkok: William A. Ryan, +66 2 288 2446, ryanw@unfpa.org

New York: Abubakar Dungus, +1 (212) 297-5031, dungus@unfpa.org