Ministry cracks down on gender selection

The Vietnamese Government is so concerned about population imbalances created by pre-natal gender selection it plans to fine those storing, distributing or selling any literature or CDs relating to the subject up to VND40 million (US2,200).

A decree drafted by the Ministry of Health’s General Department of Population and Family Planning indicates the extent of the concern.


It says that any parents who use ultrasound to determine the gender of a foetus so they can opt for abortion will be punished up to VND15 million ($833).


The department’s vice director, Nguyen Van Tan, said the move aimed to minimise sex imbalances, which were likely to become a serious problem if decisive measures were not taken.


Tan said gender-selection information posted o­n websites was harder to control, although some of them had been removed recently. He said much more time was needed to complete the job.


The draft decree further shows how seriously the Government is treating the problem. It says that anyone who urges others to have an abortion for gender-selection purpose will be fined from VND1 to 5 million ($55-$270).


Doctors and reproductive health workers who carry out abortions for the same purpose will be fined VND20 million ($1,100) and their centres will have their licences revoked for six months to o­ne year.


Just to make sure the message gets through, any person who discriminates against those who o­nly have daughters will be fined beween VND100,000-300,000 ($5.5-16.6).


And anyone who pushes parents to have more than two children for whatever reason will face the fines up to VND5 million ($270). In Viet Nam, there is an official two-child policy, but it is policed much more strongly among State workers.


Statistics from the General Department of Population and Family Planning in the past few years show that about 112 boys are now being born for every 100 girls in Viet Nam.


The rate increases to between 115 to 123 boys in north-eastern, north-western and coastal regions.


Statistics also reveal that two thirds of pregnant women nationally sought information about their child’s gender, mostly though ultrasound.


At present, the Department of Population and Family Planning is gathering opinions from ministries, agencies and the public through the Ministry of Health’s website, according to Tan.


After completion in December, the new decree will be submitted to the Government.

(Women of Vietnam Review)