Viet Nam Tries to Stop Sex-Selection Abortions

Hanoi, Viet Nam - A panel in Vietnam, a nation with one of the world's highest rates of abortion, said on Friday it was drafting a law to bar doctors from determining the sex of an unborn child.

Dinh Cong Thoan, head of the team drafting the law, said it aimed to end the practice of aborting female children.

"If people know in advance the infant's sex is not to their choosing, they might choose abortion," said Thoan, of the National Committee for Population and Family Planning. "Society's sexual balance should be natural, shouldn't it?"

He added, "Vietnamese couples still tend to prefer boys to girls. That's a common Oriental psychology."

Vietnam has 106 males for every 100 females and it is common for couples to check the sex of unborn children in advance, Thoan said. In some rural provinces the rate was 112 or even 116 males to 100 females, he added.

Thoan said that although the problem of aborting female babies was now less serious than in the past, nearby China's current surplus of 100 million men over women showed the problem that could arise if the practice went unchecked.

"A surplus of men could cause far greater social upheaval than a surplus of women," he said. "Men could start killing each other over women."

Thoan said there would need to be more discussion how to implement the proposal and it would be put up for comments from government bodies before being submitted to the Standing Committee of the National Assembly for approval.

Government figures show Vietnam last year recorded 217,691.

Thoan said the law would also follow other nations in calling for limits on cloning of human beings.

"It's wonderful to be able to clone parts of human bodies for health purposes," he said. "But to create a whole new person who is 100% like someone else would be unnatural. It would create a machine-like society."

Pro-Life Infonet
18. november 2001