by Steven Ertelt
January 5, 2007
Taipei, Taiwan (LifeNews.com) — A meeting to discuss amendments to Taiwan’s health laws on abortions was postponed after an insufficient number of lawmakers attended a committee hearing on them. There is no word on when the committee may schedule another hearing to contemplate the changes.
Two of the proposals would have the island nation require women seeking abortions to wait six days in a reflection period before having one.
Abortion was illegal in Taiwan until 1985 and is now commonplace and the nation legalized the dangerous RU 486 abortion drug in December 2000.
Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) legislator Yang Li-huan is pro-life and one of the sponsors of the waiting period. Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) lawmaker Lin Tai-hua is a sponsor of another similarly worded waiting period amendment.
The amendment also proposes that women considering an abortion meet with a trained counselor who would encourage them to look to alternatives such as keeping the baby or an adoption.
Yang was the only amendment sponsor to attend the Thursday meeting of the Health, Environment and Social Welfare Committee, according to a Taipei Times report.
"We agree on the importance of the sanctity of life," Yang said. "But my amendment focuses more on teaching young people early on the importance of maintaining their chastity, for both men and women."
Meanwhile, DPP legislator Huang Sue-ying has filed a third amendment creating a fund to pay for abortions for poor women.
Huang told the newspaper the waiting period proposals "disrespect" women.
"If religious groups want to spread their values, they should proselytize, not force the rest of us to go along with their morals by pushing through legislation," she said.
According to the U.S. National Institutes of Health, 46% of the women in the Asian country have had an abortion with 54.8% having had one abortion, 29.7% two, and 15.5% having had three or more.
The abortion ratio in Taiwan was 379 induced abortions per 1,000 live births and 255 per 1,000 pregnancies. The abortion ratio was highest for women younger than 20 years of age and for aboriginal women.
Illiterate women had the lowest abortion ratio, while women who had completed senior high school had a greater tendency to have induced abortions. Women who worked outside the home were much more likely to have an abortion than those who did not, according to an NIH study.