China's birth control disconnect

School proposes mandatory tests to prevent unwanted pregnancies. Meanwhile, officials force abortion on rural women.


Tracy Clark-Flory
June 1, 2007 10:50PM (UTC)

This is hard to wrap your head around. Officials in southern China recently took over several rural villages and reportedly forced abortion and sterilization on women who had already met the country's one-child limit. Yet, just today, a school in western China canceled plans to force pregnancy tests on all female students because of public protests ... that it would be a violation of privacy.

The vocational school announced plans last week for the mandatory pregnancy tests, saying it wanted to "limit the number of unwanted pregnancies among students, 80 percent of whom are girls between the ages of 16 and 19," reports the Associated Press. It's a little puzzling -- the idea that a pregnancy test would reduce the number of unwanted pregnancies. But, maybe school officials were hoping that students' fear of their parents finding out about an unexpected pregnancy would scare them out of having sex, period. The test results were only to be given to the student's tutor and the school doctor, unless the test was positive -- then the parents would be notified. Luckily, the public backlash stopped the proposal from ever getting off the ground.

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Well, huh. Something tells me taking a second look at China's approach to sex education, which targets married couples instead of sinning singles, might be a more successful way to reduce the number of unwanted pregnancies. Just a few weeks back, we wrote about how premarital sex is as common as ever in China, yet many young women don't have a handle on the most basic of pregnancy-prevention strategies so they're using abortion as a method of birth control.

And it seems some Chinese officials are happy to force it on those who aren't.


Tracy Clark-Flory

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