Abortion in Hong Kong

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Introduction: Abortion In The City Of Hong Kong

The practice of abortion, described as[1] the removal of an embryo or fetus from the uterus in order to end a pregnancy, has always been one of the world’s most controversial issues. Different civil organizations, religious groups, social cultures and even governments from different nations of the world have distinctive opinions with respect to the practice of abortion. This Wiki collaboration project solely encapsulates the abortion related issues in the city of Hong Kong. This Wiki collaboration is divided into several sections, which illustrate the legal issues and regulations to supervise abortion, some data and informational research on the abortion rate in Hong Kong, the key factors leading to the decision of conducting abortion, the services provided by both the government and some non-profit organizations, and last but not least the related readings from the course of GRSJ 224.

Legal Issues and Regulations

Applying For Legal Termination of Pregnancy

In Hong Kong, there is existing law that ensures pregnant women who have chosen to receive an abortion must be following the law, in accordance with Section 47 of the "Offences Against the Person Ordinance" (Chapter 212) [2]. This law illustrates that in Hong Kong, a pregnancy may only be terminated if there are two registered medical practitioners are of the opinion that the decision was formed in good faith. [3].
More specifically, in order for a pregnant woman to receive abortion in Hong Kong, there are two requirements that need to be fulfilled, they are listed as follows [4].

1. Continuing the pregnancy would involve risk to the life of the pregnant woman or injury to her physical or mental health, greater than if the pregnancy were terminated.

2. There is a substantial risk that if the child were born, it would suffer from such physical or mental abnormalities as to be seriously handicapped.

For instance, in a realistic example that is suggested by the Family Planning Association of Hong Kong,[5] "in the case of a pregnant woman who is below the age of 16, or has made a report to the police within 3 months that she has been the victim of incest, rape, intercourse by threat, intercourse by false pretense, or drugged rape, the doctors, when forming an opinion, may presume that continuing the pregnancy would involve risk of injury to her physical or mental health greater than if her pregnancy were terminated."

Therefore, in this case, the young girl is eligible to receive a legal abortion according to the Hong Kong Common Law, Chapter 212, Section 47, "Offences Against the Person Ordinance" (1997) [6].

Legal Options for Termination of Pregnancy

Under the law of Hong Kong, a first-trimester pregnancy, which means the first three months of a woman's pregnancy, can be terminated in two ways: medically or surgically. Both methods have similar safety as well as success rates [7].
1. Medical Termination: According to the law and guidance in Hong Kong, medical termination of early pregnancy utilizes two drugs to complete the process. The drug inhibits the function of the reproductive hormone of progesterone, which causes the embryo to detach from the uterus. Simultaneously, the drug increases the sensitivity of uterine muscles, therefore the embryonic tissues can be expelled[8].
2. Surgical Termination: Surgical termination of early pregnancy utilizes suction evacuation. This process uses a plastic or mental suction tube, inserted into the uterus and uses vacuum suction through the cervix, which results in removing the gestational products.[9].

Data & Research

Abortion Rate and Trend in Hong Kong

According to the Worldwide Abortion Rate report[10], Hong Kong tends to have a relatively low abortion rate. For example, in 1995, the rate of legal induced abortion in the United States of America was 22.9 per 1000 women; China had an abortion rate of 26.1 per 1000 women; and Hong Kong had an abortion rate of 15.6 per 1000 women [11].

The Year of 2007

In a recent abortion statistics report in Hong Kong, it is indicated that in 2007, the number of births was around 70,875.00, whereas the number of legal induced abortions was about 13,515.00 [12].

The Year of 2008

In a recent abortion statistics report in Hong Kong, it indicates that in the year of 2008, the number of births was around 78,822.00, whereas the number of legal induced abortions was about 13,199.00 [13].

The Year of 2009

In a recent abortion statistics report in Hong Kong, it indicates that in the year of 2009, the number of births was around 82,095.00, whereas the number of legal induced abortions was about 12,028.00 [14].

The Year of 2010

In a recent abortion statistics report in Hong Kong, it indicates that in the year of 2010, the number of births was around 88,584.00, whereas the number of legal induced abortions was about 11,231.00 [15].

The Year of 2011

In a recent abortion statistics report in Hong Kong, it indicates that in the year of 2011, the number of births was around 95,451.00, whereas the number of legal induced abortions was about 11,863.00 [16].

Abortion Rate Among Sex Workers in Hong Kong

In the published academic study, "Prevalence of induced abortion and associated factors among Chinese females sex workers in Hong Kong" [17] 293 Chinese female sex workers were interviewed. The research

indicated that 55.6% of the 293 female sex workers in Hong Kong had experienced induced abortion.[18]Moreover, the research also indicated that only 52% of these abortions was completed in registered clinics[19].

Key Factors

Education Level

According to research conducted by the health care centre in Hong Kong [20], the practice of abortion had a tendency to increase in the 80's. This research encapsulates the critical factors of a sample of 100 girls who requested an abortion. The research result has shown that around 70% of the girls who requested the abortion received a grade 10 secondary school education, and were not from a broken family [21]. Thus, the research indicates that there is a significant positive correlation between the level of formal education and the utilization of contraception preparation, such as the use of condoms. The research reflects that the level of education is a critical factor of abortion in girls [22].

Culture Influence

In a traditional Chinese culture's perspective on the practice of abortion, Chinese people tend to hold a range of moral as well as ethical views on the termination of pregnancy [23]. In the traditional Chinese culture, abortion relates to the sense of shame and guilt. From a Chinese moral perspective on the practice of induced abortion as well as fetal life, the Chinese often apply Buddhist and Confucian views to understand these issues [24]. Both the Buddhists as well as the Confucians believe that no matter what the reason is behind the act of abortion, it is considered to be destroying a human life [25].

Services & Help

The Family Planning Association Of Hong Kong

The Family Planning Association Of Hong Kong, which is also known as the FPA, is a non-profit organization. This organization plays a pivotal role in the society of Hong Kong, which bears a mission to "advocate and promote sexual and reproductive health and rights and to provide related information, education and services for individuals, families and the community." [26] It's mission is "to play a leading role in family, sexual and reproductive health and rights." [27] The FPA of Hong Kong provides significant services in regards to abortion; for instance, it provides "Termination of Pregnancy Counselling Service", which includes pregnancy tests, operation referral, medical assessment, and counselling (once post-abortion, and twice pre-abortion). [28] Furthermore, the FPA of Hong Kong also offers other major services that targets to prevent and lower the abortion rate;including contraceptive advice, and emergency contraception.

Moreover, other than providing services that relate to abortion, the FPA of Hong Kong also provides other gender, sex, and equity related services to the society. According to the official corporate profile of the FPA [29], there are six main ways to accomplish their mission, listed as follows:

1. To offer holistic and quality clinical and counselling services in family planning and sexual and reproductive health to men and women of all ages.
2. To provide family life and sexuality education to young individuals and training to parents as well as professionals.
3. To conduct and strengthen research in sexual and reproductive health, family planning, family health, youth sexuality, new contraceptive methods and other related areas.
4. To collaborate with community partners in promoting healthy, happy and harmonious families.
5. To collaborate with the Government, international family planning organizations and other local or overseas organizations to promote responsible parenthood and sexual and reproductive health.
6. To attain sustainability through resources development, prudent financial management, outcome-oriented services and constant review of operations to ensure cost-effectiveness.

Mother's Choice

Mother's Choice is an independent, and non-profit community organization in Hong Kong, which was founded in 1987 [30]. In the mid 1980's, Mother's Choice realized a serious issue in regards to abortion: during that period of time, some pregnant girls received illegal and dangerous abortions. [31] Therefore, the organization of Mother's Choice, Hong Kong was founded in response to the increasing crisis of pregnancies and illegal abortion practice in the society of Hong Kong during the mid 1980's [32]. This organization offers support for women, and single teen girls who are encountering crisis pregnancies, in need of pregnancy counselling, and nurturing care for babies [33]. Mother's Choice targets to provide critical and professional supports to help the young pregnant girls to make positive, life affirming choices in regards to abortion; their services include: pre-abortion, as well as post-abortion support, in-person abortion counselling, comprehensive assessment (includes physical, social, educational, medical, and legal needs [34]. Furthermore, given that in today's world, the Internet is playing a significant role in the teen's network, and it acts as a source of how to search for help as well as assistance. Therefore, Mother's Choice also provides online service, support, and forums, which facilitate for sharing professional advice, related experiences on topics that includes pregnancy, adoption, relationship, sex, adoption, and prevention of pregnancy [35].

Sex Education

Moreover, delivering accurate sexual education to the next generation is one of the most effective ways to achieve the goal of lowering the abortion rate in Hong Kong in the future. In order to achieve this goal, and prevent future problems in regards to the practice of abortion, The Education Bureau (EDB), which is a department under the Government of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region has provided sufficient sex education to the adolescents in Hong Kong [36]. The EDB bears a mission of delivering positive values of sex education goals in the aspects of personal growth and health, gender equality, sexual harassment, sexual assault, sexual violence, and sexual transmitted diseases [37]. There are mainly five learning objectives of the sex education in Hong Kong, in which the consequence and disadvantages of abortion is being taught. The five learning objectives are listed as follows[38] :

1. Personal Health and Growth

2. Gender Equality

3. Dating, Relationship and Love

4. Sexual Harassment, Sexual Assault and Sexual Violence

5. Sexually Transmitted Diseases and HIV/AIDS

Women on Waves

Even though Women on Waves is not a organization that was founded in Hong Kong, it aims to prevent any unsafe abortion practice, and it provides sufficient accurate information in relation to the exercise of abortion. [39] On the official website of Women On Waves, it provides online medical abortion service and advice that helps women to have access to a safe medical abortion. The website of Women On Waves refers pregnant women who are in need of safe abortion services, and who are less than 9 weeks pregnant to licensed doctors. The pregnant women have to complete an online consultation and assessment; if there are no contradictions, the women will be given a package of pills which includes mifepristone and misoprostol.[40]

Related Readings - GRSJ 224

Notes

  1. Dictionary.com website: http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/abortion
  2. Hong Kong Common Law, Chapter 212, Section 47, "Offences Against the Person Ordinance" (1997)
  3. Hong Kong Common Law, Chapter 212, Section 47, "Offences Against the Person Ordinance" (1997)
  4. Hong Kong Common Law, Chapter 212, Section 47, "Offences Against the Person Ordinance" (1997)
  5. The Family Planning Association Of Hong Kong, Health Information: Unplanned Pregnancy. (2014)
  6. Hong Kong Common Law, Chapter 212, Section 47, "Offences Against the Person Ordinance" (1997)
  7. The Family Planning Association Of Hong Kong, Health Information: Unplanned Pregnancy. (2014)
  8. The Family Planning Association Of Hong Kong, Health Information: Unplanned Pregnancy. (2014)
  9. The Family Planning Association Of Hong Kong, Health Information: Unplanned Pregnancy. (2014)
  10. Stanley K. Henshaw, Susheela Singh & Taylor Haas. Recent Trends in Abortion Rates Worldwide, 1999
  11. Stanley K. Henshaw, Susheela Singh & Taylor Haas. Recent Trends in Abortion Rates Worldwide, 1999
  12. Wm. Robert Johnston. Historical Abortion Statistics, Hong Kong, 2014
  13. Wm. Robert Johnston. Historical Abortion Statistics, Hong Kong, 2014
  14. Wm. Robert Johnston. Historical Abortion Statistics, Hong Kong, 2014
  15. Wm. Robert Johnston. Historical Abortion Statistics, Hong Kong, 2014
  16. Wm. Robert Johnston. Historical Abortion Statistics, Hong Kong, 2014
  17. Prevalence of induced abortion and associated factors among Chinese female sex workers in Hong Kong. Journal Of Sex & Marital Therapy, 2007
  18. Prevalence of induced abortion and associated factors among Chinese female sex workers in Hong Kong. Journal Of Sex & Marital Therapy, 2007
  19. Prevalence of induced abortion and associated factors among Chinese female sex workers in Hong Kong. Journal Of Sex & Marital Therapy, 2007
  20. Tang, Grace W. K. Abortion in single girls in Hong Kong, 1982
  21. Tang, Grace W. K. Abortion in single girls in Hong Kong, 1982
  22. Tang, Grace W. K. Abortion in single girls in Hong Kong, 1982
  23. Nie, Bioeth N.Z. Chinese moral perspectives on abortion and foetal life: an historical account, 2002
  24. Nie, Bioeth N.Z. Chinese moral perspectives on abortion and foetal life: an historical account, 2002
  25. Nie, Bioeth N.Z. Chinese moral perspectives on abortion and foetal life: an historical account, 2002
  26. The family Planning Association of hong Kong, 2014
  27. The family Planning Association of hong Kong, 2014
  28. The family Planning Association of hong Kong, 2014
  29. The family Planning Association of hong Kong, 2014
  30. Mother's Choice, 2014
  31. Mother's Choice, 2014
  32. Mother's Choice, 2014
  33. Mother's Choice, 2014
  34. Mother's Choice, 2014
  35. Mother's Choice, 2014
  36. Education Bureau, 2014
  37. Education Bureau, 2014
  38. Education Bureau, 2014
  39. Women on Waves 2014
  40. Women on Waves 2014

References

abortion. (n.d.). The Dictionary of American Slang. Retrieved October 26, 2014, from Dictionary.com website: http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/abortion

Education Bureau of The Government of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region. (2014). Sex Education. Retrieved from http://www.edb.gov.hk/en/curriculum-development/4-key-tasks/moral-civic/sex-education.html

The family Planning Association of Hong Kong. (2014). About FPA. Retrieved from http://www.famplan.org.hk/fpahk/en/template1.asp?style=template1.asp&content=about/vision.asp

The family Planning Association of Hong Kong. (2014). Health Information: Unplanned Pregnancy. Retrieved from http://www.famplan.org.hk/fpahk/en/template1.asp?style=template1.asp&content=sexual/srh.asp&nsrhref=1

Mother's Choice. (2014). About Mother's Choice. Retrieved from http://http://www.motherschoice.org/en/about-us/who-we-are/

Women On Waves. (2014). Who Are We? Retrieved from http://www.womenonwaves.org/en/page/650/who-are-we

Hong Kong Common Law, C-212, Section 47 (1997) Retrieved from http://www.legislation.gov.hk/blis_pdf.nsf/4f0db701c6c25d4a4825755c00352e35/43CA4DC0171D9224482575EE004D5CE1/$FILE/CAP_212_e_b5.pdf

Lau, J. F., Mui, L. H., Tsui, H. Y., Wong, E., & Ho, S. Y. (2007). Prevalence of induced abortion and associated factors among Chinese female sex workers in Hong Kong. Journal Of Sex & Marital Therapy, 33(1), 19-29.

Tang, Grace W. K. (1982) Abortion in single girls in Hong Kong. Journal of adolescent health care, 3, 213-216. doi:10.1016/S0197-0070(82)80043-0

Shenshaw, Stanley K, Singh Susheela, & Haas Taylor (1999). Recent Trends in Abortion Rates Worldwide, International Family Planning Perspectives, Volume 25.

Wm. Robert Johnston. (2014). Historical Abortion Statistics, Hong Kong. Retrieved from Quandl Inc website: https://www.quandl.com/JOHNSTON/AB_HONGKONG-Historical-abortion-statistics-Hong-Kong

Nie, Bioeth N.Z. (2002). Chinese moral perspectives on abortion and foetal life: an historical account. PubMed, 3, 15-31.