A place that offers help to young women

Published on China Daily /Europe, November 8, 2011.

Many youths still ignorant about sexual health, He Na and Xie Chuanjiao report from Qingdao, Shandong province. Failed contraception leads to having a baby: That’s the gist of the young man’s sign as university students promote spreading information about preventing pregnancy on World Contraceptive Day, Sept 26, in Qingdao, Shandong province. 

Matron Feng Shuang arrives every morning at the Qingdao You&Me Adolescent Health Service Center about 9, half an hour ahead of opening. No one waits at the door while she unlocks it, but as soon as it opens three or four young women hurry in to the waiting room. Our center provides services for young people, and the majority of customers are here for induced abortion. They often wait in nearby shops for fear they’ll be recognized, Feng said … //

… More students:

  • “The youngest girl I did an operation on was only 15. A middle school student only one year older than my son,” said Wang Lingwei, one of three doctors at the center. The girl was wearing school clothes that day and blood had stained her pants, Wang said. They helped clean her up and asked her to return the next day, on an empty stomach. She was about two months’ pregnant.
  • “The girl said she got drunk in a bar during a friend’s birthday party and did not know what happened. She didn’t know who the father was,” Wang said.
  • “She came early the next morning, with her mother following closely. The mom yelled and wanted to slap her. The girl kept silent, without uttering a word, until the operation was finished,” Wang said.
  • “She’s really a child,” Wang said. “How does a small girl like her without any sexual knowledge become a mother?”
  • “Most people take for granted that premarital pregnancy students must be bad students, but our experience says no,” Xu said. “Many of our student customers are from key middle schools and well-known universities.
  • “They can be called good students for performing well in their studies, but they really lack even basic sexual knowledge.”
  • More migrants, too:
  • The center induced more than 900 abortions last year, and it wasn’t the first time for half the patients. Dr Wang said she has quite a few repeat customers.
  • One woman, who is 22, has had eight abortions in five years.
  • “Her uterus has been seriously damaged. If she continues to have the operation, she may easily lose the ability to be a mother in the future,” Wang said … //

… An uneasy feeling:

  • Dr Wang has worked at the center for five years and has performed more than 3,000 abortions. Eight a day, on average.

    The first two weeks after summer and winter holidays are high-incidence periods, with 20 to 30 percent more abortions. Apparently, young people have more time to spend together and more opportunities for sex during the holidays.

    If these young people received some sex education and took the right measures before and after sexual relations, the doctor said, maybe they would not suffer the operation and the harm it does to physical and mental health.

    “I am used to the work rhythm here,” Wang said, “but the increasing number of young people coming in for abortions and the younger faces really make me uneasy.”

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