China / Society

Experts seek sex education advance

By Yang Wanli (China Daily) Updated: 2016-05-20 06:59

Experts seek sex education advance

Gao Weiwei (right), a lecturer, talks to students about the human body at a summer camp focusing on sex education. The camp, believed to be the first of its kind in Shanghai, was established in 2009. [Zhang Dong/for China Daily]

A call for a more comprehensive system of sex education and post-abortion counseling in China to help prevent unintended pregnancies has been made by reproductive health experts.

According to the National Health and Family Planning Commission, the abortion rate in China fell from 2.9 percent in 1994 to 1.8 percent in 2001. However, no noticeable drop was reported during the next decade.

Liu Liqing, founding country director of Marie Stopes, one of the world's largest reproductive health charities, said, "Government-supported contraceptives in China have been well promoted among married people. But unmarried people need more attention."

The commission says that 62 percent of abortions performed annually are on women who are between 20 and 29, most of whom are single. Nearly 20 percent have had more than one abortion.

Zhang Lihua, a physician at Beijing Maternal and Child Health Care Hospital, said repeated abortions increase the risk of premature births and have been linked to psychological disorders in women who have them.

"At our hospital, nearly half of those having abortions are unmarried. Many of them did not take oral contraceptives due to a misunderstanding about the side-effects, but chose other unsafe methods instead, such as avoiding days in their menstrual cycle when they were most likely to get pregnant," she said.

Guo Wei, deputy director of the Social Work and Social Policy Department at Nanjing University, said young people have limited access to contraceptives. "And sex education, which mainly focuses on physical knowledge, does not meet this practical need," he said.

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