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Abortion Law Amendment to Be Abolished
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Chinese lawmakers have decided to abolish an amendment to the Criminal Law making sex-selective abortions illegal, said a senior lawmaker in Beijing on Saturday.

Big differences remain over the amendment, which calls for jail terms of up to three years for people involved in abortion 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 law because of the serious imbalance in the ratio of genders in the population.

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 it is inappropriate to criminalize such practice because pregnant women enjoy the right to know the sex of the fetus. 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 cooperatives 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.

The emergency management law labels emergency matters, which include natural disasters, accidents and public health disasters, at four levels, according to Cao Kangtai, director of the Legislative Affairs Office under the State Council.

(China Daily June 26, 2006)

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