While it isn’t a particularly uplifting topic, many foreign women have faced an unplanned pregnancy while living in China. Without getting into political or religious issues, it is safe to say that the options for dealing with an unplanned pregnancy in China are abundant. After all, China is practically the family planning capital of the world, and so for women who are not willing or able to carry an unplanned pregnancy to term, termination in China is safe, affordable, and sanctimony-free. So what to do if you find yourself in need of an abortion in China? Where to go? What methods are used? While no one can tell a woman who finds herself in this situation what choice she should make, hopefully the idea of making that decision in China can be less daunting with this information.
First of all, you should choose a good hospital and get yourself thoroughly checked over. (Expat-friendly hospitals in Shenzhen, Guangzhou and Shanghai). At most hospitals in China abortions are big business and you’ll find that the OBGYN of almost all hospitals are filled with girls and women of all ages who have come to get an abortion. In fact, even if your pregnancy is wanted you will probably be asked when you first arrive for a prenatal checkup whether or not you’re there for a termination. In general, you should stick to the bigger hospitals or hospitals which specialize in “women and children” (called fuyou baojian yiyuan 妇幼保健医院), as these hospitals will do more of these procedures than other hospitals, which means the hospital will have more experience. Unless you can afford a true international hospital, avoid private hospitals, which will charge you much more money than public hospitals for the same procedure. In general, you will find the Chinese hospitals to be professional and non-judgmental when it comes to abortions. You will not be required to attend any counseling sessions, nor is parental consent or notification required if you are underage. While it is not a happy statistic, abortions are performed more than any other single procedure in Chinese hospitals, so you will find the doctors experienced and well equipped to handle your needs, if a bit impersonal and indifferent to your emotional wellbeing.
Once you’ve been checked over, your doctor will usually recommend what sort of termination you should have based on how far along you are in your pregnancy. If it is very early on, the doctor may recommend medical abortion, or the abortion pill Misoprotosol (药流 in Chinese). The abortion pill (which is actually two types of pills) is legal in China and routinely prescribed to women whose pregnancies are in the early stage. If you are less than 8 weeks pregnant the doctor will likely suggest the abortion pill, which will be administered under the doctor’s care. You will be given two rounds of pills, one which you take at home, and the second which is taken at the hospital’s clinic. Effectively, the first pill terminates the pregnancy and the second pill induces cramping which will expel the fetus. With medical abortion there is a risk of an incomplete abortion, with some material remaining in the uterus, so in China the doctors like to monitor the process. If the fetus and placenta is not expelled within 12 hours of taking the second pill the doctor will recommend you have an ultrasound and move on to a surgical abortion. Many Chinese women opt for a medical abortion because it is seen as less invasive and less likely to damage one’s reproductive abilities, but beware, medical abortion can lead to prolonged bleeding, and if the abortion is ultimately unsuccessful (as roughly 5% are) then the more invasive procedure will be used anyhow. There are also side effects to the pills such as nausea, and the process will probably require you to take a few days off of work, since the bleeding can be quite heavy following the second pill, and heavy bleeding can make you feel weak and dizzy. That said, medical abortion is fairly inexpensive, costing about 500 RMB from start to finish. While in China the abortion pills can sometimes be purchased at drug stores and taken without a doctor’s supervision, this is not at all recommended; medical abortion should always be done under the direction of a doctor.
If you’re from a country like America, where medical abortion is not yet legal, then you’ll be more familiar with the common surgical abortion procedure done under anesthetic (in China called 无痛人流). In China, this procedure is well developed and done quickly and painlessly for first trimester pregnancies – up to about 12 weeks. You will be put under general anesthesia while the doctor uses a vacuum suction to clear out the contents of your uterus. The entire procedure lasts about 10 minutes, after which you should spend a bit of time under observation, usually about 30 minutes or so. You should feel very little pain, and while you will probably be a bit weak afterwards, you should be back on your feet by the next day, and bleeding following a surgical abortion is very minimal. Surgical abortion is a bit more expensive, and depending on the type of hospital you go to can cost over 1000 RMB, but it is arguably the easiest and quickest way to deal with an unwanted pregnancy. The one drawback to surgical abortion is that it is more invasive and repeated surgical abortions can lead to scar tissue that could affect future fertility.
After both types of abortions the doctor will proscribe some medicines, usually an antibiotic as well as a traditional Chinese medicine called yimucao (益母草) which will help with the contracting of the uterus and should help with the bleeding. With the medical abortion you may be asked to return to the hospital in about a month for a follow up, to make sure the abortion was complete. With a surgical abortion, barring any complications, no follow up is needed.
While the decision to have an abortion is never easy, it is less easy in a foreign country. Be sure that if you decide to go through with the procedure you have a good emotional support system – have someone who can go with you to the hospital, arrange transportation for you after the procedure (you won’t feel like getting on a bus) and make sure you’re ok in the days that follow. Since abortion is fairly commonplace in China, expect Chinese friends and the Chinese staff at the hospital to have a fairly cavalier attitude towards your abortion, and realize that they might not really understand the complex emotions you might be feeling. Take good care of yourself, monitoring your physical and emotional well being is important in the days that follow a termination.
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Keywords: How to get an abortion in china abortion options china how much does abortion cost china getting an abortion in china different kinds of abortions in china
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Chris, why the f ....do you have to talk about it you stupid moronic di..h... Why do you think people object because they want too! No because they have a right too. I never came to China to debate this crap and listen to your answers at all so f.... off you t...d. We Americans...yeah right you sepo dog!!
Sep 19, 2011 02:28 Report Abuse
Who gives a stuff about you and your power trips. Why do we have to hear about this feminist shit for. I thought you all had sex education!! I hope you can never get pregnant again in your life!! BTW you had your say and I've had mind, if you don't like it, lump it!!
Sep 18, 2011 23:56 Report Abuse
Exactly. In discussions of how to kill someone, there's no place for morals or ethics. Like when I'm reading an article on how to purchase a 13 year old sex slave, I don't need to be lectured how some people think slavery is bad, according to their beliefs, or cramming their beliefs down my throat.
Jul 27, 2013 23:52 Report Abuse