China’s Abortion Problem Can’t Be Regulated Away
This year, China’s family-planning association announced that the authorities would launch a special abortion intervention campaign to reduce unwanted pregnancies and abortions among teenagers. But merely restricting abortion will be counterproductive and could even trigger other social crises.
MADISON, WISCONSIN – Recent official pronouncements in China have sparked speculation that tighter restrictions on abortion may be in the offing. Six months ago, the Chinese State Council issued guidelines to lower the number of abortions performed for non-medical reasons. And in February, China’s family-planning association announced that the authorities would launch a special abortion intervention campaign to reduce unwanted pregnancies and abortions among teenagers.
But these official interventions, under the guise of “enhancing women’s reproductive health,” are in fact a response to China’s growing fertility crisis. The one-child policy, which was implemented nationwide in 1980, forced down China’s fertility rate for two generations, and the introduction of the two-child policy in 2016 has failed to boost it. Even according to the inflated official figures, China’s fertility rate was only 1.3 children per woman in 2020 and 1.1-1.2 children per woman in 2021, well below the rates of 1.8, 1.7, and 1.5 predicted by the Chinese authorities, the United Nations, and the US Census Bureau, respectively.
As a result, the authorities announced a population increase of only 480,000 in 2021, compared to increases of two million in 2020 and 4.7 million in 2019. It therefore seems inevitable that China’s population will begin to decline in 2022, nine years earlier than expected. China is facing a demographic crisis that exceeds the imagination of the Chinese authorities and the international community.