A Chinese woman has had her 17th abortion in a six-year period, according to a Feb. 23 report from the Shiyan Evening News.
The woman, given the pseudonym Julie, from central China’s Hubei province, is now 27-years-old. She had her first abortion when she was 21.
She has also been with her boyfriend for six years.
“Every time, she pays for the most expensive operations,” Dr. Zhao told the Shiyan Evening News. “But she didn’t realize that paying more won’t make up for the damage done to her body from the operation.”
Zhao is the medical director of the gynecology department at Shiyan Maternal and Child Health Hospital. Julie had come to Zhao requesting her 17th abortion. As Zhao went over Julie’s medical history, Julie’s was reportedly more focused on her smartphone than the questions about previous abortions.
The inside of Julie’s body was severely damaged from the repeated operations, Zhao said.
“It’s as thin as paper and scarred everywhere,” he said.
Zhao even told Julie that if she went ahead with this abortion, there was a strong chance that she would have no way to have a baby in the future.
Julie didn’t acknowledge Zhao’s advice, and went ahead with the 17th abortion.
Zhao suggested that many young adults in China are opting for abortions over using contraceptives.
China’s previous years of enforcing the one-child policy made abortions not only commonplace but easy to obtain.
Abortion advertisements could be seen on street corner signs, the sides of buses, and even on taxis.
One such advertisement’s main slogan reads: “accidental pregnancy, relaxed termination.”
Other points the advertisements promote to Chinese women include painless techniques, ultra-sound viewing, intimate service, safety guarantees, and non-invasive procedures.
The advertisements often included how safe and painless their procedures are. Some offer to “resolve your accidental pregnancy in 3 minutes.”
Another abortion advertisement suggested to women that by using their services, “You will know how deeply he loves you!”
Another ad, which targets female college students, offered installation payments limited only to students.
The high frequency of abortions in China has also led to a huge disparity in baby girls and boys. Millions of men will never have a chance to marry in China, due to the number of girls who were aborted in the past in favor of having a son.
Many abortions performed in the past in China were forced. Along with abortions, many women were forcibly sterilized as punishment for having more than one child.
When China’s one-child-policy was still being enforced, a large number of forced abortions occurred. The only alternative to not having an abortion at that time was to pay large fines, which many could not afford.
Many of those performing the operations were also untrained. The result was a great deal of danger to the women involved.
One woman named Wei Linrong was injected with a poison that killed her child, according to a National Public Radio (NPR) report.
After 16 hours of labor, her baby finally emerged, dead. The baby’s poisoned body was thrown away like a piece of trash, according to NPR. Wei was seven months pregnant at the time.
Due to the low-level of skill of those performing the operation, many women were emotionally and physically damaged by the process. Some committed suicide as a result.
In 2009, the China Daily, a state-run mouthpiece, reported that while there had been 20 million live births across the country, there had also been 13 million abortions performed.
After three decades of strictly enforcing the one-child policy, China has switched to encouraging families to have two children.
Despite this push, birth rates are still flagging while the population ages, leading the country to the brink of a possible demographic crisis.