--FILE--A Chinese nurse attends newborn babies at a hospital in Xiangyang city, central China's Hubei province, 22 February 2018. China is reported to be planning to eliminate the law that says each family can only have two children. China, the most populous nation in the world, is said to be planning to remove all limits on the number of children a family can have, according to people familiar with the matter, in what would be a historic move to end to a policy that caused many controversial disputes and left the world's second-largest economy short of labor. The State Council, China's cabinet, has commissioned research on the repercussions of ending the country's policy which has lasts roughly four decades and intends to enact the change nationwide, said the people, who asked not to be named. The leadership wants to reduce the pace of aging in China's population and remove a source of international criticism, one of the people said.  (Imaginechina via AP Images)
China to allow parents to have up to three children
02:18 - Source: CNNBusiness
CNN  — 

China will reduce the number of abortions performed for “non-medical purposes,” the country’s cabinet announced in new guidelines issued Monday that it said were aimed at improving women’s reproductive health.

China has already enacted strict measures aimed at preventing sex-selective abortions, and health authorities also warned in 2018 that the use of abortion to end unwanted pregnancies was harmful to women’s bodies and risks causing infertility.

The State Council said the new guidelines would also aim to improve women’s overall access to pre-pregnancy health care services.

National Health Commission data showed that between 2014 and 2018, there had been an average of 9.7 million abortions per year, rising about 51% from the 2009-2013 average despite a relaxation of family planning policies in 2015. The data didn’t specify how many abortions were for medical reasons.

It wasn’t immediately clear whether Monday’s new measures were designed at addressing China’s declining birth rate, which think tanks and policy researchers have identified as one of its major social policy challenges in the coming decades.

Although China remains the world’s most populous nation, the latest census showed population growth from 2011 to 2020 was the slowest since the 1950s, and was expected to slow even more within a few years.

After years of trying to limit population growth, Beijing is now promising new policies aimed at encouraging families to have more children.

It said in June that it would now allow all couples to have three children instead of two. New policies designed to reduce the financial burden of raising children are also being introduced.