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January 27, 2010

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Home » Metro » Education

Sex education plea after shock statistics on student abortions

About half of the 3,500-odd youngsters who had surgical abortions after contacting a pregnancy hotline were students at vocational schools, it was revealed yesterday.

University students accounted for 21 percent of those who had the surgery, while 9 percent were secondary school students and 21 percent high school students, said officials from the No. 411 Hospital of People's Liberation Army, which has operated the hotline (6587-6866) since it was launched in 2005.

"The hotline received over 48,000 calls for consultation and help by the end of last year. We usually receive 20 percent more calls after summer and winter vacations, asking about unprotected sex and its aftermath," said Zhu Weijie, a hospital official.

"So we offered sex education in local middle schools this month before the winter vacation," he said.

"The period during and after vacation is also the peak season for abortion surgeries," Zhu said. "Families, schools and the society should give extra care and attention to young people at these time."

Zhu added: "Among the nearly 100 girls coming to the hospital for abortions in September, October and November last year, 39 percent were in the middle or late stage of pregnancy.

"Over 74 percent of them were below 18. Forty percent came to the hospital with their boyfriends, while only 11.4 percent were with their families."

A previous survey launched by the hotline found that only 9.9 percent of local parents talked about sex with their children, while 47 percent of parents thought it was the school's responsibility.

Over 81 percent of surveyed students said they learned about sex online.

About 74 percent of the girls said they wouldn't ask their mothers about sex, while 62 percent of adults never talked to their children about sex.

Only 7.7 percent of girls would tell their parents if they got pregnant.

"The poor understanding of reproductive health and the self-learned knowledge result in many girl students' improper use of morning-after pills," said Dr Dai Liangtu of the hospital's gynecology department.

Sex education for the young should be improved to combat the increasing number of abortions among students, according to a proposal raised by the Shanghai Commission of the Chinese Peasants and Workers Democratic Party.

The party also wants the government to strengthen the administration of Internet cafes and crack down on obscene Websites, because most youths were learning about sex from Websites.

And it wants schools to introduce more advanced sex education classes and encourage parents to talk to their children about sex.


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