Thu, Jul 28, 2011 - Page 15 News List

Half a million babies aborted in a year
一年拿掉50萬名寶寶 墮胎比出生的還多

This CGI shows a frame of the computer animation “Love Child” by Shiao Sheng-wen, a student in the Graduate Institute of Design at National Taiwan University of Science and Technology. Shiao created a three-dimensional unborn baby, but destroyed it afterwards in an attempt to raise society’s awareness about abortion. This animation was nominated for the SIGGRAPH 2009 Computer Animation Festival’s Jury Award.

Photo: Courtesy of National Taiwan University of Science and Technology

During a recent seminar, Lu Hung-chi, an emeritus professor from National Taiwan University, stunned his audience when he said an estimated 300,000 to 500,000 abortions were performed in Taiwan last year. With only around 166,000 births last year, Taiwan’s birthrate reached yet another record low. The number of abortions significantly dwarfs the number of births. In order to help resolve birth and pregnancy related issues, the government should encourage people to have children and also establish channels for pregnancy counseling, reporting pregnancies, and adoption.

The Deputy Director General of the Bureau of Health Promotion under the Department of Health (DOH), Chao Kun-yu, said that around 240,000 induced abortions were registered annually over the past three years, including medically induced abortions.

Chao also said that based on analysis of induced abortion data provided by the Bureau of National Health Insurance, besides slightly more than 210,000 abortions registered in 2004, 180,000 to 190,000 abortions were performed annually from 2006 to 2009. According to statistics from the DOH’s Food and Drug Administration, the abortifacient drug mifepristone (RU486) was used for 40,000 to 50,000 medical abortions annually over the past three years, which means there were about 240,000 abortions performed each year. However, this figure does not include clandestine abortions.

Chao said current legislation on induced abortions specifically states that the spouse’s consent, is required if an abortion is performed for psychological or family reasons. Civil groups say that such legislation is a direct violation of women’s rights. Thus, when the drafted version of the Eugenics Protection Act was sent to legislature in 2009, this clause was altered so that the spouse is merely notified, and the mother shall be granted a three-day reflection period to carefully consider her decision, and giving her the opportunity to visit a professional counseling institution. However, the draft is still in the legislature, and has yet to pass legislation.


1. stun v.

令人震驚 (ling4 ren2 zhen4 jing1)

例: The entire family was stunned by the suddenness of her suicide, and the fact that she left no suicide note.


2. violation n.

違反 (wei2 fan3)

例: If companies are found in violation of the act, they will be fined up to NT$500,000.


3. opt v.

選擇 (xuan3 ze2)

例: I originally wanted to go to Canada this year to study, but now I’m opting for Australia instead.


Professor Lee Mao-sheng from Chung Shan Medical University’s Institute of Medicine said it is worth noticing that in the past mostly teenagers were getting abortions, but that the number of people old enough to get married and opting to have abortions has skyrocketed in recent years. The reason is that they feel they cannot afford having children, or because they are afraid of the extra burden. A lot of people are simply choosing not to get married or have children, or deciding not to have children even after getting married.

Lee said that because of the economic recession, soaring real estate prices and stagnating salaries, the abortion rate has risen by around 20 percent over the past few years. However, with the arrival of the year of the dragon, the abortion rate is expected to fall to 10 percent, and the number of newborns next year is expected to increase to between 180,000 and 200,000.





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