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Abortion stats cause for concern

[ 2009-07-30 11:24]     字号 [] [] []  
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Inadequate knowledge about contraception is a major factor in the 13 million abortions performed in China every year, research shows.

This is an unfortunate - and avoidable – situation and improvements need to be made, experts said,

Li Ying, a professor at Peking University, said yesterday that young people need more knowledge about sex.

A survey done by 411 Hospital of the PLA (People's Liberation Army) in Shanghai, for example, found that less than 30 percent of callers to a hotline knew how to avoid pregnancy, and only 17 percent were aware of venereal diseases.

More than 70 percent said they did not know sexual transmission is the major contributor to the spread of HIV/AIDS.

Li said Chinese parents are reluctant to teach their children about sex, so more needs to be done on sex education.

Wu Shangchun, a division director of the National Population and Family Planning Commission's technology research center, told China Daily that research shows nearly half of the women who had abortions had not used any form of contraception.

"The challenge of reducing (the number) of women seeking abortions in China is tough," Wu said. Many abortions are performed in unregistered clinics, Wu added.

Government statistics show that about 62 percent of women who have abortions are between 20 and 29 years old, and most are single.

Wu said the real number of abortions is much higher than reported, because the figures are collected only from registered medical institutions.

Also, about 10 million abortion-inducing pills, used in hospitals for early-stage abortions, are sold every year in the country, she said.

The morning-after pill, which can be used within 120 hours of intercourse to prevent pregnancy, has been widely sold as emergency contraception since 1998, she said. The pills have sold well, but incorrect use is a problem, Wu added.

Sun Aijun, a leading gynecologist at Beijing Union Hospital, said there also is a misconception among some women that the contraceptive pill is unsafe.

Sun said many unmarried couples choose to use condoms, but this can be problematic because some women find it difficult to turn down requests from a partner not to use them.

Abortions cost about 600 yuan ($88). Since the 1990s, doctors have not asked for a woman's marital status when an abortion is performed.

There are about 20 million births in the country each year, Wu said.

(英语点津 Helen 编辑)

Abortion stats cause for concern

About the broadcaster:

Abortion stats cause for concern

Nancy Matos is a foreign expert at China Daily Website. Born and raised in Vancouver, Canada, Nancy is a graduate of the Broadcast Journalism and Media program at the British Columbia Institute of Technology. Her journalism career in broadcast and print has taken her around the world from New York to Portugal and now Beijing. Nancy is happy to make the move to China and join the China Daily team.