China Reports 13M Abortions Annually
Health officials blame lack of birth control for unmarried women
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Jul 30, 2009 7:06 AM CDT
China has maintained a one-child policy since the 1970s, but contraception is not widely available for unmarried women.   (AP Photo/Ng Han Guan, File)
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(Newser) – China performs about 13 million abortions every year, mostly for single young women who experts say know little about contraception, according to a rare disclosure by government health officials. China imposed strict birth controls in the 1970s, limiting most couples to just one child, but the policy tends to overlook the contraception needs of unmarried women even as attitudes toward casual sex have dramatically liberalized. Nearly half of Chinese women seeking abortions used no contraception.

The report, published in state media, called the widespread use of abortions "an unfortunate situation" but did not directly say whether abortions were on the rise, and no year-to-year statistics were given. The actual figure may be much higher than 13 million, since abortions in rural clinics often go unrecorded. In the US, with a population about a quarter of China's, 1.2 million women have abortions annually.