Chinese lawmakers have decided to abolish an amendment to the Criminal Law that makes sex-based abortions illegal, according to a senior lawmaker in Beijing on Saturday.
Big differences remain over the amendment, which calls for jail terms of up to three years for those involved in abortion procedures based on the sex of the fetus, according to Zhou Kunren, vice-chairman of the Law Committee of the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress (NPC).
Some lawmakers and family planning officials support the amendment because of the current serious imbalance in gender ratio, a situation that has been blamed largely on sex-based abortions.
China has 119 boys born for every 100 girls, much higher than the global ratio of 103 to 107 boys for every 100 girls, according to Xinhua.
However, other experts argue that it is inappropriate to criminalize such practices because women have the right to know the sex of their fetuses.
A previous amendment was discussed by NPC Standing Committee members in April.
The NPC Standing Committee opened its six-day 22nd session on Saturday when members held the first hearing on three draft laws known as the emergency management law, the anti-monopoly law and the farmers co-operatives law.
They will also review a draft sixth amendment to the criminal law, a draft amendment to the compulsory education law and a draft law on supervision.
(China Daily June 26, 2006)