Chinese students “surrounded” by abortion adsBy Michael Evans Oct 18, 2012 9:16AM UTC
After a recent government report noted an increase in abortions among young, unmarried women in China, one major news outlet examined an aggressive marketing campaign by abortion providers aimed at female university students.
A report by China News Service (CNS) recounted the experience of Zou Ping, a first-year student studying in Nanchang, capital of Jiangxi province. Zou was out shopping with her friends one day when she picked up a free packet of tissue paper being handed out on the street.
Inside, she found a plastic card offering a discount on abortions at a local hospital, with 50 percent off for patients who showed a student ID.
“I feel like our lives are completely surrounded by ‘painless abortion,’” Zou said. “In classroom buildings, dorms, as you go into the dining halls, you can see advertisements everywhere.”
Zou said that she had even found abortion ads pasted on stall doors and trash cans in her university’s restrooms.
A teacher at the Jiangxi Science and Technology Normal University said that the school made special efforts to stop the spread of ads for abortion.
“In addition to forbidding outsiders from entering, the school also organizes students every night to go around and clean up these kinds of ads.”
However, he conceded that “There’s no way to prevent abortion ads from entering the school, and advertisements on buses are outside the school’s control.”
Posing as a student, a reporter for CNS set up an online appointment at Nanchang’s New Age Gynecological Hospital. After inquiring about abortions, she was assured by someone who claimed to be a “senior doctor” at the hospital that the procedure was safe, with little risk.
He also reminded her of the special low price of 480 yuan available if she scheduled an abortion online in the next 56 days.
Min Qinghua, vice-director of obstetrics and gynecology at the Nanchang University Number One Affiliated Hospital, warned that such persistent promotion of “painless abortion” easily misleads women on the risks and dangers of abortion.
“Nowadays, more and more people suffer from infertility and sterility,” Min said. “And one major reason is that women hear and blindly trust publicity for painless abortion, and aren’t afraid of abortion surgery, as they once were.”
Min emphasized that surgery was not always as risk-free as many ads claimed, pointing to the risk of coma or even death as a result of mistakes in administering anesthetic.
Min noted that many hospitals offer online appointments for women considering abortion, which he dismissed as “only a kind of advertisement” that promised deceptively low prices without mentioning additional hidden costs.
While ads often promise abortions for around 360 to 480 yuan, additional fees for a pre-surgery checkup, anesthetic, and post-surgery medicines often more than double the final price.
CNS contacted Nanchang’s Tongjichang North Hospital, whose ad appearing on city buses promised abortions for the total price of 360 yuan. A consultant at the hospital surnamed Zhang admitted that the advertised price “Is just the cost of the surgery, and doesn’t include other fees.”
“After taking the checkup into account, it’s usually around 1000 yuan,” Zhang said.
Nanchang’s Department of Health told CNS that if citizens suspect a hospital advertisement to be misleading, they can call a special government hotline to make a complaint.