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LinkAsia | Mar 11
Vietnam's Communist Party has stated its desire to change the country's constitution, written in 1992. Reformers hope it will address issues of pro...
Abortion is a controversial topic, perhaps nowhere more so than in Vietnam, where statistics suggest that abortion may be the most popular form of birth control. This has gotten Vietnamese public health authorities worried. But as our contributor in Hanoi, Nguyen Qui Duc tells us, no one knows what to do.
Nguyen Qui Duc:
This is not something new, nor is it hidden. The government's General Office for Population and Family Planning states here that, "on average each day, maternity clinics carry out 40 to 60 abortions."
By contrast a news website gives a different picture. Four months ago, it claims that in Hanoi alone, "besides the maternity clinics, there are thousands of abortion clinics, not including unauthorized and home clinics. It concludes that thousands of abortions are performed everyday in this city alone."
The family planning website reported on a national conference on sex and health education this past August. The theme was whether sex education was a way to effectively deal with the issue, or would it just encourage more sex. At the end of the conference, it was decided that:
"A lot of solutions were proposed, but none of the answers would be acceptable to society at large."
Vietnam has an official policy of two children per family, a way to control the population which stands now at about 88 million. But the problem seems to be with young people and lack of education, a generation gap, and old Confucian ethics keep the issue from going beyond superficial talk. Meanwhile, the Buddhist and Confucian respect for the dead means a lot of articles about the burial of aborted fetuses. One popular website ran this pictorial in May about a cemetery just outside the capital where 50 thousand fetuses are buried.
The story concludes with these statistics:
"Vietnam is one of 3 countries with the world's highest abortion rate, and most alarming is the fact that 20 percent of the people involved are under legal age. According to data from some Hanoi clinics, some women have had 4 abortions in a year. Most are performed on women under 25 year old. And on average each Vietnamese woman has had 2 to 3 abortions before marriage."
For LinkAsia, I'm Nguyen Qui Duc in Hanoi.