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13 Million abortions in China and age of pregnant women falls

(China News Online)    09:03, January 28, 2015

Over 13 million abortions are conducted in the country every year. If we take into account medically induced abortions and procedures carried out in backstreet premises, the annual number is even higher.

Among female adolescents who have premarital sex, more than 20 percent have unwanted pregnancies, of which up to 91 percent end in abortion. The repeat abortion situation is particularly serious.

Zhao Lei (pseudonym), 26, quit her job two years ago in Beijing and returned home to get married. She and her husband have been trying to have a baby. Her doctor has told Zhao Lei that a tubal blockage has rendered her infertile. The cause of the blockage, the doctor says, was an abortion.

While working in Beijing, Zhao Lei had a boyfriend. She recalls her fear and anxiety when she first learned of her unwanted pregnancy. Given the couple's limited economic means, they finally decided to give up this baby. Zhao Lei took the subway to a hospital far from where she lives and works, deliberately in order not to encounter any acquaintances.

Zhao Lei is now going from one doctor to another in search of a treatment for her infertility. Recalling the abortion, Zhao Lei says: “I will never forget the pain I went through when I had the abortion. I will never forget it as long as I live."

Data published by China’s National Health and Family Planning Commission indicates that it is predominantly younger people who are choosing to have abortions. Almost half of the reported procedures were conducted on women below the age of 25, the majority of whom were university students.

Misled by some private hospital’s leaflets promising "painless abortion", more and more young Chinese no longer take the matter seriously, as if abortion were "safe, affordable, and with no impact on work".

Deceptive adverting is certainly one factor influencing the high rate of terminations; lack of awareness about sexual safety seems to be another important contributor.

A recent survey showed that more than 68 percent of Chinese women were confused about the difference between oral contraceptives and the morning-after pill. Just 1.2 percent of Chinese women take oral contraceptives, compared with 30 percent to 50 percent of women in some developed countries.

Unwanted pregnancy is not the only issue that has arisen from China’s lack of sex education - 86 percent of youngsters doesn't know about HIV/AIDS prevention according to a recent survey. Parents and schools have to rethink their attitude towards teaching young people about safe sex. 

(For the latest China news, Please follow People's Daily on Twitter and Facebook)(Editor:Gao Yinan,Yao Chun)

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