China aims to improve health of newborn by law

BMJ 1994; 309 doi: (Published 19 November 1994) Cite this as: BMJ 1994;309:1319
  1. R Tomlinson

    This week China published the full text of its controversial new law aimed at “improving the quality of the newborn population.” The Law on Maternal and Infant Health Care will encourage the termination of pregnancy when the fetus has a serious defect or suffers from a severe genetic disease. It also specifies that an adult “with certain genetic disease of a serious nature which is considered to be inappropriate for childbearing” may be married only if the couple agrees to long term contraceptive measures or sterilisation.

    The law, which will take effect on 1 June next year, includes measures to improve health care during pregnancy and the perinatal period. But it is the provisions designed to limit an adult's right to bear a child that have attracted most attention and caused the greatest disquiet internationally. Aware of the subject's sensitivity, the Chinese …

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