How parents explain induced abortion to kids in China

My name is Jiawei Hu. I am a teacher of net sexuality education for children and the founder of a social enterprise specializing in child sexuality education.

In addition to giving sexuality education classes to these children, I often give advice about sex education to many parents via WeChat.

Not long ago, I met a parent who consulted me. The child suddenly went home and asked him what the painless abortion was and it scared the parents a lot because they have no idea how to respond to the child.

What China lacks most is sexuality education.

In the eyes of parents, sexuality is like a scourge. They seem to think that  letting children know more about sexual knowledge will cause many problems. In China, condoms are not allowed to be advertised as sexual health products. However, advertisements about induced abortion can be posted all over the street.

More and more young people are choosing premarital sexuality. The data show that about 60% of unmarried adolescents in China have a relatively acceptable attitude toward premarital sexuality.

However, due to the absence of sexuality education and lack of information about contraception, unintended pregnancies caused by unprotected sex have become the most critical problem for young people.

A set of data released by the National Population and Family Planning Commission Science and Technology Research Institute in 2013 shows that China’s annual abortions are as many as 13 million, ranking first in the world. Nearly 50% of them are young people under the age of 24. 8% of girls aged 15-19 have had sexual experience and the rate of multiple pregnancies is higher than that of girls aged 20-24.

Behind the 13 million person-times flow data is an extremely large gray market.

Driven by a certain group with a kind of notorious private hospital owned by businessmen from a specific region that only focus on the profits instead of patient’s health, abortion advertisements are frequently seen in every corner of the street, though they have been banned.

The three-minute painless slogan misleads a large number of teenagers. In their view, it seems that painless abortion is a relaxed and simple method of contraception. The Yangcheng Evening News, one of the most famous newsletter in Guangzhou, once reported that a 16-year-old girl had had four abortions.

The flood of painless advertising has also led to more and more children seeing ads about abortion. I remembered that I had seen a parent making fun of her son on the Internet. Her son impressed the teacher with his Chinese sentences. Other children fill (crowded) stream of people, (bustling) stream of people, and his children fill (painless) stream of people! (???means stream of people and abortion in Chinese).

Many parents, faced with their children’s questions, often choose to be evasive even scold their children. For example, when the child see the billboard of painless abortion, he ask his dad: what is the meaning of painless abortion?

His father would be obviously aware that people around him will give him a strange gaze if he answers the question directly. Normally the “clever” Chinese father will quickly respond to the child, “go home and ask your mother.

Right! Ask your mother, the man like me don’t understand such of thing. This causes the child to come home and chase the mother and ask, “Mom, what is a Painless abortion?”

But in my opinion, the earlier the child understands the principles of pregnancy, the methods of contraception, and the pros and cons of abortion, the better for the growth of the child. So the problem is coming!

When children ask parent what is abortion, how should I answer it?

Here is my advice: we can answer in this way: “Remember where you came from? You came from your mother’s tummy. There is a part in the mother’s tummy called the uterus. You used to live in your mother’s uterus. Some moms and dads are ready to have a baby; the fertilized egg will grow up little by little in the uterus. Finally, it will come out of the mother’s vagina and become a little baby. A caesarean mother can also show her baby the scar at night and tell the baby that he (she) came out of the uterus. ”

But some moms and dads are not prepared; they feel that they are not able to take care of the baby. Therefore, they will choose an abortion to avoid the birth of the baby. Some fathers and mothers are prepared, but doctors have found that the fetus is not healthy and even has some serious diseases. So they will also choose abortion surgery to let the baby be born later.

And there are girls who don’t want to get pregnant, but get pregnant because of sexual abuse. They will also choose abortion surgery to protect themselves. Because surgery will have a little pain, so some hospitals will give pregnant women anesthetic, so that the abortion will not be painful.

Rather than telling your child what an abortion is, it’s more important to tell your child how you think about it.

We can answer like this: Although painless abortion is good, it is better for us to get enough information beforehand, and we must do a good job in contraception as well. Just like mom and dad, if we don’t want another baby, mom and dad will practice contraception well, so mom won’t be pregnant. However, sometimes having an abortion is the only way to not have the baby, if the baby is not healthy.

Taking the opportunity to pass on the values of responsibility to the children, we can say like this: taking care of the baby is a very difficult thing. If the parents are unable to take care of the baby, it will make the parents and the baby unhappy. We hope that you can become a responsible person. If your child is a girl, you must teach her to be responsible for her own health and to use contraception. Reduce the risk of unwanted pregnancies. If your child is a boy, teach him to be responsible for the health of another girl, and do a good job of contraception to reduce the risk of unwanted pregnancy. Above all, tell your children that we hope that you will become a responsible parent in the future and be responsible for the baby. Be prepared to be a parent, take good care of your baby, and let your baby grow up healthy and happy.

Of course, these answers are not to tell the child all at once. Based on your judgment of your child, speak as much as your child can understand. But it must be remembered that today the child asks you what is an abortion, if you choose to avoid, the child will eventually know from other people.

It is even possible to see “three minutes painless abortion” as a means of contraception. It is common to see the case that a girl has abortion several times or even a dozen times. After all, the advertisement about three minutes painless abortion is all over the place but the condoms which can prevent contraception and AIDS are not allowed to be mentioned on TV.

Sexuality education is a gradual and continuous activity. Although unwanted pregnancies and miscarriages are part of the education aimed to teenagers, but in my opinion, children also need it.

With the explosive development of information, younger children are beginning to get more and more information. Children are beginning to know things we once thought only young people knew. We need earlier help for children to have a more scientific understanding of pregnancy and abortion, so as to make them capable of understanding these situations and making responsible decisions when it is their time.

 

Jiawei Hu, the founder of Soy & Pea Technology Co. Ltd, which company is focus on children sexuality education. Hu is a member of the Youth Committee of the China Sexology Association, is Forbes China’s “30 elites under 30” in 2017. Hu has sexuality education and teaching experience for 7 years. During his work, he served as a trainer of peer education hosts in universities in Jiangsu Province and project manager of Wuxi National Youth Health Project.

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