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Bill proposed to ease pain of pregnant teens

LOCAL women's federation suggested establishing a care center for pregnant teens in a bill proposed to the ongoing annual session of the Shanghai People's Congress so as to prevent further physical and psychological harms to these minors.

The center is supposed to appoint hospitals to carry out abortions on pregnant minors and the cost should be born by the government. After the surgery, the minors can get rehabilitation therapy and psychological comfort in the center, the draft bill suggests.

The Shanghai-based China Welfare Institute has sampled 452 pregnant girls aged from 12 to 19. Their average age was 16.85 when they had the first sex. Nearly 60 percent of the respondents volunteered to have sex which led to their pregnancy. About 27 percent said they were hesitant, while the rest were forced to have sex, according to the survey.

"This indicates young women's pregnancy isn't a rare social phenomenon," said Shi Qiuqing, spokeswoman of the Shanghai Women's Federation, a non-government organization protecting the rights and interests of women and children. "More than 40 percent of the group had sex when they weren't aware of its consequence or were under force."

What's more, pregnancy and abortion caused psychological stress on 84 percent of the respondents. They felt regretful, shameful and scared, the survey said.

Shanghai No. 411 Military Hospital has aided more than 2,000 pregnant girls since it opened the city's first aid hotline for pregnant young women three years ago. The youngest was only 12 years old and one third of them got pregnant for the second time.

To protect young women, especially those under 14, the federation advised the legislators to make a law that requires hospitals to report to police or juvenile protection department after carrying out abortions on girls under 14.

Unlicensed clinics that make abortions for girls under 14 should be closed and their owners should be criminally punished, the bill suggests.

If the minor is under 14, the care center also has the responsibility to report to police.

According to the Criminal Law, those who have sex with young women under 14 should be convicted of rape, no matter the girl agrees or not.


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