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article imageFace of Abortion in China: A Young, Single Woman

By nobuta     May 13, 2007 in World
Abortion in China is no longer associated with married women complying with the country's one-child policy.
Young and single is not the common profile of a woman having an abortion in China. Abortion has been usually associated with married women complying, voluntarily or involuntarily, with the country’s one-child policy. But as society has rapidly changed and so have the types of women who are having these abortions
Unmarried women, including teenagers, are now having a rising number of abortions, and even constitute a majority of cases in Shanghai and parts of Beijing, according to academic studies and health experts. And many of these women who are urban professionals, students and prostitutes are having multiple abortions.
Health experts say that many single women lack even a basic understanding about reproductive health and contraception. At the same time, premarital sex, once rare, is now considered common, particularly in urban areas. So as more single women are having sex, despite often knowing little about it, they also are having more abortions. Abortion is seen as a contraceptive for single women since they are afraid to use condoms. It might offend their boyfriends. One young woman who had here sixth or seventh abortion was quoted saying “If your not married just have an abortion”.
“There is a blind spot in sex education in China,” said Xu Jin, director of the clinic, which is run by Marie Stopes International, a nonprofit group that provides sexual and reproductive information and services. “We are here to fill the hole in the system.”Public hospitals, which are found across China, are the busiest abortion providers. Prices vary, depending on location. Ms. Xu said abortions at public hospitals in cities like Beijing might average 500 yuan, or about $65. These hospitals are usually impersonal and crowded, and some operating rooms are equipped to perform more than one abortion at once.
Health experts in China say safety is usually not a problem. However, Ms. Xu noted that young women who have multiple abortions are more susceptible to certain health problems, including infertility. A recent survey of 8,846 single and married women who had undergone abortions at 10 hospitals in Beijing found that 36 percent had had more than one abortion within six months.
For single women, confidentiality is a major concern. A single, pregnant woman faces enormous social stigma and shame and has few options beyond abortion. Single motherhood is almost nonexistent, and unmarried pregnant women rarely carry a pregnancy to term in order to place a child up for adoption.
Profiteering private hospitals and clinics, some nicknamed “quack” hospitals, are now marketing abortion services, as well as treatment for sexually transmitted diseases. These hospitals advertise heavily with promises of strict confidentiality. But fraudulent, advertising has become so rampant such as“Painless Abortions!” or “The Model Abortion for a New Generation!” . There is a discount if you’re a student.
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