China will reduce the number of abortions done for non-medical reasons, the government said Monday, in an apparent bid to reverse its declining birth rate that has set off alarm bells with the progressive aging of the Chinese population.

The State Council or the cabinet issued new guidelines on family planning to promote birth rates and guarantee gender equality.

The cabinet has asked the local governments to implement the new measure thoroughly.

The guidelines said the number of abortions for “non-medical purposes” would be reduced but did not clarify that the measure would address the declining birth rate.