Vietnam: Despite contraceptive access, 40% of all pregnancies end in abortion

According to doctors in Vietnam, a shockingly high 40% of pregnancies in the southeast Asian nation end in abortion, which is legal in the country within the first 22 weeks of pregnancy. On average, each woman of reproductive age in Vietnam undergoes 2.5 abortions.

According to Vietnam Breaking News, doctors at Central Obstetrics Hospital in Hanoi claim that current abortion rates are double the percentage officially reported by the government.

Vietnamese obstetrician Dr. Nguyen Thi Ngoc Phuong, explains, “Vietnam has one of the highest [abortion] rates in the world. It is just sad.”

Abortion rates in the country are especially troubling when contrasted with global abortion rates. Guttmacher, Planned Parenthood’s former research arm, reports that between 2010 and 2014, 25% of pregnancies worldwide ended in abortion – as contrasted with Vietnam’s 40%.

Out of the 40% of pregnancies ended in abortion, approximately 20% are reportedly performed on “young people.” Nguyen Thi Hoai Duc, director of the Institute for Reproductive and Family Health, says approximately 70 percent of secret abortions in Vietnam are performed on young women between the ages of 13 and 19.

“Many girls visit clinics three [or] four times to have abortions even though they have greater access to contraception and they are already aware of the risks of abortion,” said Duc.

Vietnam Breaking News reports that the shame of out of wedlock pregnancy plays a large role:

In Vietnam, premarital sex remains a taboo. A young woman who gets pregnant out of wedlock is likely to face harsh backlash from society and family. As a consequence, unmarried women have to turn to private clinics to have an abortion.


Employees of Ho Chi Minh City’s Tu Du Hospital, the largest obstetrics hospital in southern Vietnam, said abortion numbers are on the rise. They report that one point “it was so alarming that the reported abortion ratio to live birth at the hospital was 1:1.”

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