Ministry seeking heavier penalties for fetus gender selection

By Son Ha   July 9, 2024 | 05:30 am PT
Ministry seeking heavier penalties for fetus gender selection
Children play at a kindergarten in HCMC's Cu Chi District in 2020. Photo by VnExpress/Quynh Tran
The Health Ministry will propose adding regulations prohibiting fetal sex selection, and increasing sanctions on violations, as part of it's new draft Population Law project.

According to a 2020 decree on administrative penalties in the health sector, organizations and individuals will be fined VND15-20 million (US$590-787) if they prescribe or suggest the use of drugs or apply other technological methods to determine the gender of the child as desired.

Medical facilities and medical staff who violate the regulations may have their operations suspended and their licenses revoked for up to three months.

The Ministry of Health said that Vietnam's sex imbalance at birth appeared around 2006.

Since 2012, this ratio has remained above 112 boys/100 girls (the natural balance threshold is 104-106 boys/100 girls).

This agency has warned that if the sex ratio at birth is not controlled, it will become a serious problem in the future by adversely affecting the structure of gender demographics.

The serious gender imbalance, when "future husbands outnumber wives," will force men to delay or give up marriage because they cannot find a wife, according to experts.

As calculated through 2050, Vietnam could by that time have as many 2.3-4.3 million men unable to find a Vietnamese wife, which could threaten the nation's sustainable development, the agency reported.

The World Bank's population report in April 2022 also states that Vietnam faces the risk of a surplus of men over the next 30 years.

"This situation can lead to gender-based violence, human trafficking, prostitution, political instability and economic losses," according to the Ministry of Health.

Explaining why the ratio of male children is higher than that of female children, the ministry said that many Vietnamese families still strongly want sons to continue the family line, be the economic breadwinner, and inherit the family work later.

Meanwhile, advances in science and technology have made prenatal gender selection easier than before.

At the same time, couples these days generally do not have as many kids as in the past, with each usually having just one or two children, so, they usually prefer to have sons.

Meanwhile, the official regulatory inspection, examination and handling of fetal sex selection has not been strengthened.

The ministry plans to submit the draft Population Law to the National Assembly for comments at its 10th session in October next year.

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