Time to Face the abortion problem
Date:2014-12-09 18:06 Source:100xiao.com By:hhstrong Hit: HIT

An estimated 13 million abortions are performed in China every year. The number is much higher than in many industrialized countries. There are several reasons for this: the strict family planning policy, inadequate sex education and ignorance about the use of contraceptives. Given the ill effects of abortion on women, it is necessary to devise new policies that will reduce the number of abortions.

The rate of abortion in China is about one in every 100 people compared with one in every 500 people in the United States. More worryingly, the reported number of abortions in China, many claim, is much less that the actual number, because abortions in rural areas are performed in unlicensed clinics or by quacks. Such clinics often lack anesthetics, and proper sanitation and sterile conditions needed for the procedure, which could lead to hemorrhage, infection and even life-long physical and/or psychological trauma.

Almost half of the women who undergo abortion are below the age of 25, and many of them are university students. According to surveys, many Chinese youths lack the basic knowledge about sexual health. According to World Contraception Day organizers in China, almost 70 percent of Chinese women don't know the difference between the effects of normal contraceptive devices such as condoms and morning-after pills.

Studies by family planning organizations have repeatedly shown that in places where contraceptives are not readily available more women turn to abortion, even if it is illegal. But in places where modern contraceptives are made available to women, their use is a major factor for reduced abortion rates. It is estimated that only 1.2 percent of Chinese women take oral contraceptives while in industrialized countries 30 to 50 percent of women do so.

To reduce the number of abortions in China, policymakers have to improve the level of sex education in schools and colleges, as well as disseminate information on and access to modern contraceptives by promoting their safe and effective use.

In addition, the government should consider further easing the strict family planning policy. Despite some indications that the government is moving in this direction, there is still considerable resistance from some think tanks and official departments. Several experts have already warned China of the demographic emergency looming ahead: a diminishing workforce which will be unable to support the rapidly increasing aging population. The sooner effective policies are put in place, the safer the women of China will be.

The author is an international public health consultant and winner of Overseas Press Club of America award, and has the book, Sexual and Reproductive Health, to his credit.

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