Married couples end more 1st pregnancies
The China Post news staffThe China Post news staff--The ratio of first-pregnancy abortions by married couples has doubled in recent years, due mainly to married couples' inability to afford raising a child, according to the Taiwan Association of Obstetrics and Gynecology (TAOG).
September 19, 2011, 11:49 pm TWN
TAOG estimated that there around 50,000 to 80,000 abortion cases per year, but Lee Shih-ming, an obstetrician, said that the real number of such cases is far higher than the estimate.
“The annual number of aborted babies should be almost the same as or even larger than that of the newborn babies,” Lee said.
In the past, young women used to account for the majority of abortion cases, but this isn't the case nowadays, according to Lee. “Now, married women have emerged to command over half of monthly abortion cases reported by hospitals,” he said.
Most local obstetricians and gynecologists also warned that the ratio of first-pregnancy abortion by married couples will continue to increase if the domestic economy fails to improve significantly, with the number of abortions to exceed that of pregnancies carried to term.
Lee Mao-sheng, a doctor versed in treating infertility, lamented that an infertile woman managed to become pregnant after four years of treatment, but ultimately was forced to return to his clinic for an aborion due to poor household finances.
He said that quite a few newly married couples had their first pregnancies aborted, mainly because they were not financially prepared for unexpected pregnancies.
Statistics compiled by the Ministry of the Interior (MOI) showed that Taiwan's total fertility rate stood at a low of 0.895 in 2010, far lower than the level of 2.1 needed to maintain a stable population structure. This constituted a warning signal for the island's declining population.
The same MOI tallies indicate that the total birth rate recorded by indigenous townships was higher than Taiwan's total birth rate, exceeding 1. The Tatung Township in northeastern county of Yilan, the Fuxing Township of the northern county of Taoyuan, and Jianshi Township in the northern county of Hsinchu, all indigenous townships, saw their total birth rate exceed 2.1 last year.
By contrast, the total fertility rates recorded by non-indigenous and non-agricultural townships were lower than 1, according to MOI statistics.
The total fertility rates registered by five municipalities in Taiwan were lower than or the same as the island's total fertility rate of 0.895, with Tainan City recording the lowest rate of 0.775. The lowest such rate among districts of the five municipalities was recorded by Ruifang District of New Taipei City, at only 0.39.
To counter the increasingly low birth rate, the MOI has offered a spate of incentives to encourage young couples to give birth, such as birth subsidies, child-raising subsidies, and introducing special tax deductions for children. But whether the incentives will work remains to be observed, especially when the domestic economy has yet to recover significantly.
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