Youth Project Of The Month: What Do Young Peer Educators Know About Safe Abortion in China?

The Chinese Youth Network (CYN) has published a series of peer education manuals, which were used as guidebooks by peer educators in China. However these only focus on reproductive and sexual health until now.

prochoiceASAP Youth Champion, Yu Yang, who is himself a peer educator and a member of the Chinese Youth Network saw the need to change this situation and include a dialogue on a rights-based approach into the manuals.

In China abortion is legal under all circumstances, but there is little awareness about safe abortion, and places that provide aseptic medical services. The lack of information leads to unsafe abortion. Additionally, safe abortion is not offered as a right. So, even if the law allows safe abortion, women do not have the absolute ability to control their fertility and body.

Using an ASAP Small Grant, Yu Yang conducted a project in 2012 and 2013 to assess the knowledge and attitude of Chinese peer educators on safe abortion and develop documents that can be used to advocate for the inclusion of safe abortion and a rights-based approach in the peer education manuals.

The survey conducted among 100 CYN peer educators, showed:

  • 46% young peer educators do not have a clear understanding about the safe methods of abortions, particularly medical abortion.
  • 66% were unable to differentiate between Mifepristone and Misoprostol and would not have been able to guide other youth properly.
Yu Yang presents the findings at the ASAP Refresher Institute in September 2013.

Findings suggest that peer educators need special workshops that will focus only on the abortion issue in order to equip them to educate young people in Universities. As eries capacity building workshops for 23 peer educators was conducted under the aegis of this project. The workshops disseminated information about safe abortion. These workshops were co-facilitated by 4 Chinese Youth Network trainers, which included ASAP’s Youth Champion and focal point, Yu Yang.

A survey conducted at the end of the workshops showed that over 80% of the young participants showed the enhanced capacity of conducting peer education and advocating programs.

The Youth Champion along with the Chinese Youth Network will use this project to advocate for:

  • The need to hold special workshops focused on the abortion issues to enhance peer educators’ knowledge.
  • The addition of a section on safe abortion in the peer education manual, in order to share accurate information about the options available for young girls experiencing unwanted pregnancies.
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