The Alan Guttmacher Institute   search  
home home about contact e-lists support agi buy help
publications article archive state center media center tablemaker
news release

Leila Darabi

For Immediate Release: Wednesday, March 14, 2004


One-child policy leads to abortion, not reduced rates of unintended pregnancy

In Shanghai, where China’s single-child policy is rigorously enforced, more than four in 10 married couples with children conceive again after having their first child, according to a study by Yan Che of the Shanghai Institute of Planned Parenthood and John Cleland of the Centre for Population Studies, London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine. Most of these pregnancies occur within a year of the first child’s birth, and almost all are unintended. In compliance with the single-child policy, 98% of these unintended pregnancies end in abortion.

According to the study, nearly all newlywed couples in Shanghai wish to have a child soon after marriage. Although most do not intend to conceive a second time, new parents tend to practice less effective contraceptive methods during the first year after their child’s birth, such as periodic abstinence, withdrawal and the condom. Later, most adopt more effective methods--particularly the IUD--and by the fifth year after having a child, couples’ likelihood of unintended pregnancy is very low. As a result, the authors conclude, "Policies to reduce unintended pregnancies, and abortions, should focus particularly on postpartum contraception."

The study, "Unintended Pregnancy Among Newly Married Couples in Shanghai," appears in the March 2004 issue of International Family Planning Perspectives. Data were gathered through face-to-face interviews of 7,872 couples living in the Luwan and Hongkou districts, first immediately following their weddings between 1987-1988, then 15 months later, and again in 1994-1995.

Also in this issue:

"Compression of Women's Reproductive Spans in Andhra Pradesh, India," by Sabu S. Padmadas of the University of Southampton, UK et al;

"Religious Affiliation and Extramarital Sex Among Men in Brazil," by Zelee E. Hill of the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine et al;

“Political Management in the Indonesian Family Planning Program,” a special report by Jeremy Shiffman;

"Whatever Happened to Family Planning and, for That Matter, Reproductive Health?” a viewpoint by Duff G. Gillespie; and

"Plateaus During the Rise of Contraceptive Prevalence,” a comment by John Ross et al.

back to top