China will reduce the number of "non-medical" abortion procedures, Reuters reported.
It claims that this is intended to "improve women's reproductive health".
The latest guideline was introduced by the Chinese government on Sep. 27, following strict measures in preventing gender-selective abortions implemented in 2018, according to The Guardian.
The State Council added the new guideline would also aim to improve women's overall access to pre-pregnancy health care services.
China's health authorities had previously warned in 2018 that using abortion to end unwanted pregnancies was harmful to women's bodies and increases the risk of infertility.
51 per cent increase in abortion
Reuters added that according to data from the National Health Commission, there were an average of 9.7 million abortions between 2014 and 2018.
The number was a 51 per cent increase from the 2009 to 2013 average, despite the relaxation of family planning policies in 2015.
The commission did not provide details on whether the procedures were done due to medical reasons.
Declining birth rate
It was not stated whether the latest policy on abortion was directly linked to China's declining birth rate.
In May, China's census showed that the population grew at its slowest rate during the last decade since the 1950s.
Its fertility rate was also well below the replacement rate of 2.1, standing at 1.3 children per woman in 2020, similar to Japan and Italy.
For more than three decades, China has implemented a one-child policy.
However, in 2016, China scrapped the policy and replaced it with a two-child limit. The government allowed parents who were from one-child families to have two children themselves.
In an abrupt shift in policy, China introduced the three-child policy in May 2021.
New policies are also in the works to reduce the financial burden of raising children.
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