China Tries to Dial Back Its High Abortion Rate

China is stepping up efforts to reduce abortions in young women, signaling a shift in official attitude toward a widely used procedure that has long been part of state-directed family planning.

A recent plan by the government-backed China Family-Planning Association outlined a “campaign of intervention” to reduce unplanned pregnancies and abortions among adolescents and unmarried women. It said the aim was to “improve reproductive health.” The plan, posted on the association’s website, was dated Jan. 28 and has been referred to in some Chinese media in recent days.

The wording in the plan comes as China faces rapidly declining births. China now allows couples to have three children, a 180-degree policy shift from the decadeslong one-child policy, one legacy of which is a dwindling number of women of childbearing age. Over the past few years, China has been closing abortion clinics and expanding services to help couples conceive.

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