Study: Abortion rate rises among young, single women in China

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Abortion, widely employed during the '80s by married Chinese women during the height of China's "One Child Policy," is now shifting in popularity to young, unmarried women. The Beijing Modern Women's Hospital now offers a government-subsidized "Safe & Easy A+" discount abortion package aimed at college students. The price is around 880 yuan ($130).

In 2009, a U.N.-funded survey of 22,288 Chinese young adults (aged fifteen to twenty-four) by the Peking University Population Research Institute found that two-thirds were accepting of premarital sex but, due to limited sex education, many knew little about contraceptives and safe-sex practices. The survey found twenty-two percent had had sex before; of those, more than fifty percent used no contraception during their first sexual encounter. Conversely, the CDC's 2009 survey of American high school students found that of the forty-six percent of students who were sexually active, eighty-five percent used contraceptives during their most recent sexual activity.

A comparison of these two studies confirms what many social conservatives refuse to acknowledge: sexual activity among young adults doesn't cease because of limited access to sex education. Teens are just far less likely to practice safe sex if they never learned how to practice it, leading to an increase in abortion. Although abortion should always remain legal, avoiding an unwanted pregnancy is preferable to terminating it. This new study reinforces the idea that increasing access to education and contraception is the best method to lower abortion rates.