Photos: Teenage abortion in China
December 21, 2012Jing Gao5 CommentsAbortion, adolescents, birth control, contraceptive, family planning, HIV, misleading advertisement, One-child policy, painless abortion, sex education, social stigma of HIV/AIDS, surgical abortion, Teenage pregnancy, women's health
Statistics released by China’s National Population and Family Planning Commission show that at least 13 million abortions are performed each year in China, which makes it the country with the highest number of abortions in the world. That does not include the 10 million abortion pills sold or the unknown number of abortions performed at underground or unregistered clinics. Against the backdrop of the country’s One Child Policy, abortion in China is not only legal but easily done. Besides, to unmarried women, the social stigma of raising an illegitimate child and the lack of adoption services means that having an abortion after getting pregnant is almost the only way out.
August 1, 2012, outside the abortion operating room at a hospital in Zhejiang province, a girl who has eyes as beautiful as ones of the girl printed on her T-shirts, is about to undergo abortion. Nowadays, women going through abortion are apparently getting younger. A survey shows 50 percent of women seeking abortion are below the age of 25; 65 percent are unmarried; 54.3 percent of all abortions are unwanted pregnancies as the result of failure to take any contraceptive method; 50 percent are repeated procedures.
July 16, 2012, at a hospital in Zhejiang province, girls seeking abortion line up in front of the operating room. All of these fashionably dressed girls look uneasy and upset while standing in the waiting lounge. Many of them lack basic knowledge of contraception and are totally unaware of the health risks of abortion. Girls who have gone through multiple abortions in a certain sense rely on it as a form of birth control.
July 10, 2012, a man waits outside the operating room at a hospital in Zhejiang province while carrying the handbag of the girl inside. It is required that a woman seeking abortion must have escorts – be they a boyfriend, a good friend, or a family member. Often times, it is her confidant who comes with her, because at that moment, her boyfriend is too timid and discombobulated to show up, and her family is usually kept in the dark.
July 26, 2012, right before her abortion surgery, a girl sits on the exam table waiting for the doctor to clean her surgical site. Most of the girls who come to this hospital for abortion are young rural migrants who are poorly informed about women’s health. Because they are far away from home and free from parental supervision, they are more likely to get pregnant. On average, a surgical abortion, including preoperative examination and postoperative medication, costs around 1000 yuan and is not covered by medical insurance. Therefore, psychologically as well as economically, this could be a huge price for them to pay.
August 19, 2012, at a hospital in Zhejiang, a girl takes off her shoes before entering the operating room (as surgical abortion has to be carried out in a sterile environment) alone. Usually at this stage, a girl who is to undergo abortion for the first time in her life will have been consumed with anxiety and fear and wondering what will happen next. Those who have done this before will be more worried about its adverse effect on their fertility in the future.
Above: July 7, 2012, at a hospital in Zhejiang, a 12-week-pregnant high school girl is undergoing a “painless surgical abortion”. Anesthetic has been delivered intravenously, but her body keeps shaking while she is unconscious, so the nurse has to hold her hands tight to prevent her shaking from affecting the surgery. A scar from her cutting herself can be clearly seen on her wrist.
Below: July 17, 2012, at a hospital in Zhejiang, a 14-year-old girl who comes to abort her pregnancy has a Chinese character for “Hate” carved into her arm. She had sex with a boy in her class inside a karaoke booth. After learning about her pregnancy, the boy begins to shun her. The girl says she is “heartbroken and desperate for help,” and that she “hates the boy’s guts for betraying their oath of love and abandoning her.” She feels she is too disgraced to go back to her school and wants nothing but to transfer to another school.
July 26, 2012, inside an operating room, a “painless abortion” is being performed. The entire surgery lasts less than 20 minutes. Different types of abortion include medical abortion, conventional surgical abortion, painless surgical abortion and partial-birth abortion. Both the conventional and the painless type consists of removing the fetus from the mother’s body by suction, the only difference being that the painless surgery involves anesthesia, taking away the feeling of pain from the patient. Partial-birth abortion is often performed on the fetus after the 12th week of gestation.
August 19, 2012, at a hospital in Zhejiang, a girl is having a pregnancy ultrasound test. The sonogram image shows an eight-week-old fetus the size of a watermelon seed holding out its tiny hands. Soon afterwards, this life will be sucked out of the uterus.
July 7, 2012, at a hospital in Zhejiang, a doctor is performing a painless surgical abortion. Her legs have been tied up to the table so that they won’t slip off when the patient is under anesthesia. Complications may occur during and after the surgery, whereas long-term damages, including fertility problems (infertility caused by pelvic inflammatory disease), spontaneous abortion, premature birth, placental abnormalities, stillbirth and prenatal/postpartum hemorrhage are also likely to occur.
A tool used during surgical abortion to help suck out the fetus from the uterus. Nowadays, many illegitimate medical facilities, in order to maximize their profit, uses misleading or false advertisement. In April 2012, seven mothers in the northern city of Shijiazhuang in Hebei province displayed over 10,000 fliers promoting “painless abortion” they have collected and accused unscrupulous abortion clinics of touting business and encouraging unprotected sex.
July 26, 2012, at a hospital in Zhejiang, a cervical dilator used during the procedure.
July 9, 2012, at a hospital in Zhejiang, a doctor emptied blood from a bottle. A strainer is used to catch large lumps in the blood before they are disposed of according to relevant regulations, whereas blood is flushed down the drain.
August 20, 2012, at a hospital in Zhejiang, 16-year-old Little Wen is the last girl on the day to have an abortion. Because she is infected with HIV, doctors and nurses HIV, doctors and nurses are armed from head to toe with protective suits and masks for her surgery. The doctor asks her how she contracted HIV, to which she answered, “I started dating my current boyfriend at 14. He is my only man. I am not sure if he spread that to me. I did not know I have VD until I had my first abortion. My boyfriend took a test later. He said he is fine and won’t spread it.”
July 26, 2012, at a hospital in Zhejiang, surgical waste after abortion, which must be disposed of in accordance with the provisions.
August 27, 2012, at a hospital in Zhejiang, a man carries in his arms a woman too weak to walk after the surgery. “Painless abortion” does not necessarily mean no pain or harm. A survey conducted by the China Population Association shows that among all age groups of women who seek treatment for infertility, women aged 20-24 have the largest figure. Of all factors that lead to their infertility, “ Fallopian tube obstruction cause by inflammation following abortion, which prevents the union of the egg and the sperm” ranks as the number one cause.
August 27, 2012, a hospital in Zhejiang opens a postoperative care center. Nurses and caregivers can be consulted on information about women’s health and birth control. A packed condom can be seen from the handbag of a girl who is seeking help here. She has come for her second abortion. Because her boyfriend hates to wear a condom, she asks the nurse for alternative contraceptive method.
August 2, 2012, at a hospital in Zhejiang, an educational video about birth control methods is played on the TV on the wall outside the abortion operating room. According to statistics released by China Population Communication Center, 74 percent of parents never talk to their children about the facts of life. 49 percent of adolescents acquire knowledge about sex from the Internet.
August 20, 2012, at a hospital in Zhejiang, the doctor talks to a young woman before terminating her pregnancy. Behind the younger age of abortion-minded women lies the problem of Chinese feeling of shame associated with sex-related top and lack of sex education.
Selected comments on NetEase:
Michaeljob [网易广东省深圳市网友]：2012-12-21 10:23:14 发表 There is an amazing country, where commercials of condom cannot be broadcast, but painless abortion ad can be seen on each channel. Here, abandoning life seems to be so much more graceful and decent than buying a condom!
meix104 [网易天津市网友]：2012-12-21 10:18:45 发表
(If you) Love her, protect her first.
杨永信的七三一 [网易美国网友]：2012-12-20 07:55:07 发表
In countries like the United States, it is said that even though it is legal, doctors that perform abortion are too ashamed to show up in public. Americans would ask, why not give birth to the baby and give it up for adoption.
lip5117 [网易中国网友]：2012-12-20 07:54:35 发表
The consequence of loose sexual morals.
夜风24737376 [网易黑龙江省鸡西市网友]：2012-12-20 08:06:37 发表
The problem will be solved if price of abortion due to reasons other than birth defects is raised several times higher. For example: charge 100,000 yuan for abortion. If you want no birth control, look at your pocket to see if there is enough money. Vote this up if you agree.
飞飞飞飞 [网易江苏省苏州市网友]：2012-12-20 08:14:16 发表
America experienced sexual liberation in the 60s. But in America you can have as many children as you want, and there is good awareness of birth control and contraceptive measures! Sad!
wzw1080 [网易上海市网友]：2012-12-20 08:14:06 发表
I am strongly opposed to those little ads in many cities, “Painless abortion in three minutes”…As if it were saying, “F**k all you want! Not a big deal even if it goes wrong!”
网易北京市网友 [臭多多] 的原贴：
This is mostly the man’s fault.灬思密达灬 [网易江苏省盐城市网友]：2012-12-20 08:00:19 发表
Shit. So women blame men when they don’t know how to protect themselves? The biggest responsibility is on women! If you don’t even care about yourself, who do you blame?网易山东省济南市网友 [freewilson] 的原贴：
Did you ever see a single hand gives a clap?网易浙江省杭州市网友 [楽涛涛] 的原贴：
It is the woman’s fault that she is too cheap. First turns herself into a loose woman at a cheap karaoke box, then goes on to demand her later men to have a house and a car.
网易广东省网友 [皮皮空] 的原贴：
Well, indeed. I saw so many comments blaming the woman. Isn’t the man also in the wrong? My wife and I had always used protection before getting married.
网易辽宁省沈阳市网友 ip：116.2.*.*2012-12-20 08:22:24 发表
This should be blamed on us men. How many women dislike their men to wear a condom? Actually it is men who dislike wearing one, but in the end, they will compromise. Or what? Let’s put us in women’s shoes. Or should we give up on sex and break up over this?
MKWU [网易广东省惠州市网友]：2012-12-21 17:26:01 发表
I wonder if those animals at the family planning office have seen this.
网易黑龙江省哈尔滨市网友 [tian920] 的原贴：1
Motherf**ker. Damn Heavenly Kingdom. This is goddamn murder!!! Go to hell, One Child Policy! I have never heard of any developed country that can destroy life like this!
喜仁 [网易河南省郑州市网友]：2012-12-21 16:24:56 发表
Abortion is the biggest harm one can do to her own body. There is no such thing as painless abortion. Promotions and ads of painless abortion have brought harm to many ignorant young men and women. I discussed these heartless ads with my wife years ago. It is those heartless hospitals who are pain-free. It is you who are going to suffer from pain.
夢尐貝 [网易天津市网友]：2012-12-21 16:13:57 发表
Girls, love yourself! If you don’t even love yourself, who will love you?
网易广东省深圳市网友 ip：113.116.*.*2012-12-21 15:31:38 发表
Health is important. Abortion is too senseless. Those murderers authorized by law.
网易广东省河源市网友 ip：112.91.*.*2012-12-21 11:49:12 发表
If it is between me and my girlfriend, I will use protection if she does not want a baby. I will not put her through such sufferings. Just looking at those images pains me. So many innocent lives. Sigh…
老糊涂神212 [网易广东省广州市荔湾区网友]：2012-12-21 11:35:10 发表
What a sin!!!!!!!!!!
Those surgical tools stained with blood really give me the chill and nausea…
szecm [网易广东省深圳市网友]：2012-12-21 11:15:26 发表
It is good that more campaign on this topic is launched… Wake up those ignorant kids….This is so harmful to the physical health. Such educational drive is a bona fide cause…
UFO0 [网易上海市网友]：2012-12-21 11:09:05 发表
Sigh…I accompanied my wife to do that too…Regret it quite a lot… Would like to caution bros here: use birth control; don’t put your women through such unnecessary and meaningless sufferings.
网易陕西省西安市网友 ip：117.39.*.*2012-12-21 11:06:33 发表
When you get older, look back at things you have done, you will feel stupid and ridiculous.