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Johns Hopkins University

Publication Date

Fall 12-1-2014

Program Name

China: Language, Cultures, and Ethnic Minorities


Since China’s implementation of the Family Planning Policy in 1973, much research has been dedicated to analyzing the effects of a policy that strictly controls the reproductive lives of a population now comprisedof 1.35 billion people. Analyses focus on the rise of abortions in China, now at an annual rate of at least 13 million, but offer little insight into the perceptions of the population in regard to China’s new abortion culture. This study aims to shed light on current perceptions through a range of in-person, qualitative interviews conducted in Kunming, China. The study is limited to a sample size of fifteen persons and all study participants are female and anonymous. Participants were prompted to offer their thoughts on a range of issues, including the Family Planning Policy, sex education, abortion advertisements, hospital policy, and the now widespread practice of abortion. Perceptions were generally negative in regard to the effects of the Family Planning Policy, sex education was largely viewed as inadequate, andabortion advertisements were strongly criticized for their public and misleading messages. Hospital practice encouraging caesarean delivery, cultural emphasis on abortion over other alternatives, and government policy targeting single mothers were found to be harmful to women’s health.China does not allow women to be fully in charge of their own reproductive decisions, which is increasingly disheartening to women. Inadequate sex education and misleading advertisements for abortion services are met with disapproval and frustration. In order to see improvements in women’s health, it is critical to foster a culture that emphasizes direct education, accepts unmarried, pregnant women, holds hospitals accountable to policies that may endanger their patients, and encourages women to make decisions for themselves


Asian Studies | Feminist, Gender, and Sexuality Studies | Gender, Race, Sexuality, and Ethnicity in Communication | Health Communication | Medical Education | Women's Studies


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