China Proposes Eugenics Law Official Wants to Halt Births of Retarded and Disabled Children

Article excerpt

China's minister of public health has proposed national legislation to halt the birth of abnormal children, using government-ordered sterilizations and abortions if necessary.

The minister, Chen Minzhang, has presented draft legislation on "eugenics and health protection" to the National People's Congress and said China was in "urgent need of adopting such a law to put a stop to the prevalence of abnormal births," the state-run New China News Agency reported.

In an appearance before leaders of the congress, he cited statistics showing that China now had "more than 10 million disabled persons who could have been prevented through better controls," the agency reported.

The minister said the program would be administered under strict conditions and training. Intervention would be approved "by the authorities at the county level and above," he report said.

Pregnant women diagnosed as carrying infectious diseases or abnormal fetuses would be "advised" to terminate the pregnancy, the report said.

A spokeswoman for the Public Health Ministry's policy and law office said Tuesday that if the Chinese congress passed the legislation this spring, a panel of experts would be appointed to decide and define what birth defects and infectious diseases would be targeted and the rules under which state intervention would be warranted. …