China Sees 13 Million Abortions Annually, Most Done on Young Single Women

International   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Jul 30, 2009   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

China Sees 13 Million Abortions Annually, Most Done on Young Single Women

by Steven Ertelt Editor
July 30
, 2009

Beijing, China ( — China sees as many as 13 million abortions done on an annual basis, official state media are reporting today. The information is rare as the nation’s family planning agency, which endorses the country’s one-child policy that involves forced abortions, rarely releases such information to the public.

The China Daily newspaper said the abortions are mostly done on single women who do not know much about the use of contraception.

The number is likely higher as the total only includes abortions done in hospitals and does not include those abortions that occur in unregistered stand-alone centers.

The 13 million abortions annually also does not include the 10 million abortion drugs that are sold annually.

Wu Shangchun, a government official with the National Population and Family Planning Commission, shared the statistics with the newspaper and said half of the women who get abortions were not using any form of contraception at the time.

The family planning numbers also showed that 62 percent of the women getting abortions were not married and most were between the ages of 20 and 29.

The office said the abortion figures were "an unfortunate situation" but did not say whether abortions were increasing or provide year-to-year information.

The family planning officials said the nation’s policy against having more than one child has prevented the birth of 400 million people since the late 1970s when it was introduced.

The news comes after the city of Shanghai announced it was allowing more exceptions to the forced abortion family planning policy that prohibits couples from having more than one baby.

Thirty years after implementing the policy, which has resulted in forced abortions and sterilizations and massive human rights abuses, officials are now urging some couples to have a second child.

The new rules encourage parents who both have no other siblings — products of the one-child policy — to have two children.

Such parents are already eligible, but few take advantage of the exception and a new educational campaign by a city government hopes to change that.

The new push for more babies is meant to counter one of the growing international problems — underpopulation — which has resulted in worker shortages in many nations and birth rates below replacement level.

Shanghai, which has more than 20 million people, is leading the way with the new rules changes. But 22 percent of its residents are over the age of 60 and that number is already growing, signaling a sharp population decline in the next couple of decades.

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