Medical Practice after Legalization of Abortion: The Chinese Experience
Induced abortion has been legalized since the early 1950s in the People’s Republic of China. The procedure is freely available to women at all administrative levels of hospitals and clinics in both urban and rural areas. Most abortions have been performed on an outpatient basis by trained paramedics, such as nurses, midwives, and barefoot doctors, with supervision by medical doctors. Suction and curettage, dilatation and evacuation, and intra-amniotic instillation are the main methods of abortion currently used. Patients with complications associated with the procedure are treated or hospitalized free of charge. In 1982, a sample survey of childbearing married women aged below 50 conducted in Beijing City shows that the annual rate of abortion was 67 per 1,000 respondents, and the abortion ratio was 83 per 100 live births in 1982; 11.7 percent of respondents’ last abortions were performed after 12 weeks of gestation; and 1.4 percent of respondents were hospitalized after their last abortion because of having had serious symptoms, such as bleeding, infection, and abdominal pain, associated with the abortions. The prevalence and incidence, weeks of gestation, and short-term complications associated with induced abortion obtained from the Beijing survey are further classified by sociodemographic characteristics of respondents, and are also compared with those of other countries where the data are available.
KeywordsAbortion Rate Unplanned Pregnancy Policy Compliance Beijing City Birth Planning
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