Advancing Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights
 
International Family Planning Perspectives
Volume 22, Number 3, September 1996

Abortion in Context: Women's Experience in Two Villages in Thai Binh Province, Vietnam

By Annika Johansson, Le Thi Nham Tuyet, Nguyen The Lap and Kajsa Sundstrum

The government of Vietnam adopted a two-child policy in the 1980s to curb population growth; Vietnam now has one of the highest abortion rates in the world. In rural Thai Binh Province, where some local authorities strictly enforce the national population policy through a system of financial incentives and disincentives, 114 abortions occurred for every 100 births in 1991. A survey in two villages in Thai Binh among 228 women who had abortions that year revealed that contraceptive choice was limited; the IUD was essentially the only modern method used, and many women had given it up because of side effects. On average, the women had had 2.4 live births and 1.5 abortions, most of which took place before eight weeks of gestation. The most frequent reasons for choosing an abortion were wanting to save money and to avoid being fined for exceeding the two-child limit. Husbands were the most important persons in sharing the abortion decision; parents and parents-in law often did not agre e with the decision. Postabortion counseling was absent or inadequate. The village where the national population policy guidelines were more stringently enforced had twice the abortion ratio of the village where enforcement was more lenient.

(International Family Planning Perspectives, 22:103-107, 1996)

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