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BEIJING (LifeSiteNews) — The Chinese State Council announced new “guidelines” Monday aimed at reducing abortions sought for “non-medical” reasons, the latest move by the authoritarian regime to try to reverse the population crisis triggered by its own history of population control.

The Guardian reports that the news came in the government’s latest Outline for Women’s Development in China, which did not specifically define “non-medical reasons” or elaborate on how these guidelines will be enforced, but did claim they would help prevent unwanted pregnancies and encourage men to “share responsibility” in doing so.

“The basic national policy of gender equality and the principle of giving priority to children needs to be implemented in depth,” said Huang Xiaowei, deputy director of the State Council’s National Working Committee on Women and Children.

While any abortion reduction is welcome news to pro-life observers, the Communist regime’s latest move appears to be driven by motives other than a principled devotion to the sanctity of all human life.

In 1980, amid fears of food shortages, China began its notorious “one-child policy,” limiting family sizes via forced abortion and sterilization in hopes of cutting the country’s population to under 1.2 billion by the end of the 20th century. The brutal measures worked all too well, leading the government to consider remedies to the opposite problem: concerns that there would be too few young workers to replace and support an aging population.

In 2016, the regime began allowing couples to have two children, which sparked a brief population spike that year that didn’t continue into 2017. A government study released in 2018 estimated that the Chinese workforce could decline by 100 million people from 2020 to 2035, and by another 100 million from 2035 to 2050. Additionally, by discriminating against baby girls, China’s draconian policies left fewer women in the population to give birth in the first place.

Demographer He Yafu estimated at the time that the number of Chinese women between ages 20-39 could drop from 202 million to 163 million over the next ten years. “Without the introduction of measures to encourage fertility, the population of China will drop sharply in the future,” he warned.

Last year saw 10 million births in China, a decline of almost two million from 11.8 million in 2019.

In May, the government increased the official family size limit to three children, though it remains to be seen whether the change is too little, too late. “Having ruthlessly suppressed any consideration other than economics, China’s leaders are finding that it is precisely on economic grounds that many young Chinese women are declining to have any children at all,” Canadian former ambassador to China David Mulroney told LifeSiteNews at the time.

Communist China’s draconian population control policies are part of a long record of human rights abuse highlighted by many humanitarian observers. Other offenses include comprehensive spying on the regime’s citizens, suppressing Christianity including bans of online Bible sales, committing torture and “genocide” against Uyghur Muslims, harvesting organs from prisoners, using slave labor, holding political prisoners, and more.