Abortion in Taiwan

I’ve been here just sitting at work with not a whole lot to do for a change and was just wondering what Taiwanese views are on two of the big issues in the U.S., abortion and the separation of church and state. Is the abortion issue as sticky an issue in Taiwan as it is in the U.S.? Is it legal? I’ve been to Taiwan before and not once heard about abortion from anyone, though I did see ads on the street for contracetives. I’m not having an abortion, and as far as nature goes (I’m a guy), will never have one. I’m not an activist, just curious.

Do they teach evolution, creationism, both, or neither in school?


Abortions were available on demand in the period I was there ('92-'97) The new French abortion pill was available too for a small fortune. Can’t tell you about how people felt about it though because it was a subject I never discussed.

Interesting point. Five years here and I’ve never heard a peep about abortion, though I do remember the “abortion pill” becoming available. “Day after” pills can be obtained without a prescription.

Chinese don

Oh no, let’s start a thread about gun control, that hasn’t been done yet! Alright, we might be able to keep this civil if we remember the question is abotu Taiwanese views, not our own.

I happen to know from reliable sources, that the morning after pill (and I think the ‘abortion pill’) is available easily over the counter without a prescription. Abortions are legal and easy. The only restriction is that the woman must be accompanied by a second person (doesn’t have to be parent or spouse or anything) to witness and sign something.

Sometimes it seems to me that mroning after pills and abortion are Taiwanese girls’ favoured forms of birth control.


Has anyone seen that ad on one of the Chinese channels about women in Hong Kong using abortion as a method of increasing their breast size? All sounds very dodgy- but is it true? Does anyone know?

Abortion is legal up to the 24 week stage thereafter illegal. Abortions unless for genuine medical reasons are generally not encouraged using the NHI scheme, and some outright refuse to do them if for purely personal reasons. In that case there are many competent female clinics around who are only too willing to rake the money in and perform the op.

From a legal standpoint, abortion is not available on demand in Taiwan.

The 1984 law that legalized abortion sepcifies that aside from the usual exceptions for rape, incest, etc., a woman may have an abortion only if carrying the baby to term will result in physical or psychological harm to the mother.

In other words, in most cases for an abortion to be legal a doctor must agree that having the baby will harm the mother’s mental health. This may seem like a trivial requirement, but it means that legally pregnant women may not solely decide whether to terminate their pregnancy; they must obtain approval from their doctor.

Partly for this reason many women still have abortions in private clinics where the procedure is not registered – these abortions are technically illegal. The penalties for an illegal abortion are actually quite stiff. However, like with many other rules in Taiwan they’re not enforced.

The procedure is certainly common. I read an article last year that said abortions now outnumber live births in Taiwan, 400,000 to 320,000.

Abortion isn’t as cut and dried as you think here.
Taiwanese women must get the consent of their spouses in order to obtain an abortion through the proper channels.

Please see this article

Alien, whilst technically correct, it is just another area where rules get ignored and overlooked, or the price of the illegal op goes up another few thousand.

Yes, the Genetic Health law seems typical of modern technocracy: idealistic in spirit, but impossibly draconian in practice… What else is NOT new? I would say that they should ammend the law as soon as possible and make it easy for young girls to get sanitary and safe procedures without having to take chances because they need their parents’ signature… By the way… I wonder if anyone knows how old a woman must be before she and her partner can just walk into the clinic and sign their own forms without having to trouble mommy and daddy? People ought to have some privacy for their own body, and be permitted to exercise their own choices…

The Genetic Health law is almost Orwellian in its overtones – ie.: using human judgement to select those who are suitable candidates for mother- and father-hood…

Perhaps in the far-flung future, we shall accept as natural the design perfection of human offspring: creating the perfect baby will probably become just another part of everyday human life; ie., choosing to replace inherited genes that carry the potential to give you diseases like MS and Alzheimers; maybe one day you will be able to select the color of your daughter’s eyes: I can’t see anything very criminal in that. Anyway, genetic engineering stilll has a very long way to go; and the main point is that it’s quite inevitable, perhaps, that we shall become happy, instead of being frightened, about the idea of being able to improve ourselves. But that is still in the “far” future, isn’t it? How strange, that human foresight is so unnecessarily short…

Isn’t it wonderful that we can finally treat unwanted, unborn human beings in the same manner as used toilet paper?
Dr. Mengele’s beliefs are finally vindicated.

Originally posted by Alien: Taiwanese women must get the consent of their spouses in order to obtain an abortion through the proper channels. [url=http://taipeitimes.com/news/2002/02/02/story/0000122477]article[/url]


That is not totally correct. Under the Eugenics Act, a woman may have an abortion in one of six situations, two of which are:

#3. There exists medical basis to determine that pregnancy or childbirth would endanger the woman’s life or harm her physical or mental [精神] health

#6. Pregnancy or childbirth would adversely impact the woman’s psychological [心理] health or family life

It’s only if the woman is seeking abortion under condition #6 that she needs the spouse’s consent. (By the way, I have no idea what the difference is between “mental” health and “psychological” health.)

The basic conclusion does still stand: that technically abortion is not available to women on demand; in most cases they must seek either their doctor’s or their spouse’s approval.

Here’s a link to the actual law, for the masochistic readers that enjoy reading legal code in foreign languages. (Richard? )

Originally posted by O'Brian: Isn't it wonderful that we can finally treat unwanted, unborn human beings in the same manner as used toilet paper?

So would that make your sperm cells half of an unborn human being then? In that case I do hope you’re not recklessly disposing of them with toilet paper, I mean like toilet paper.

I guess this could be called “abortion on demand”. :


Beijing orders Chinese women who are married to Taiwanese to have abortions

By Lin Miao-Jung

Chinese brides of Taiwanese men who went to China to visit their families were ordered by Beijing to have abortions or to undergo surgery to have their fallopian tubes tied. They were also fined and threatened with punishment under China’s one-child policy if they had more children, a Taiwan official said yesterday.

The Straits Exchange Foundation (SEF,

Well, there we go, thanks for that example of totalitarianism in action, O’Brian… Despite the state-terror prevalent in mainland China, I’m still skeptical about what you think about my opinion; I wonder if you appreciated the main point that I was trying to make above, Mr. Christian soldier: I was emphasizing the idea that choice resides in the heart and head of each individual person, not the church, state nor anyone else but the one who’s been knocked up…

I think, if you have even a little bit of understanding about the nature of modernity and the place of the individual within contemporary society, you will see that the sanctity of human individuality shall prevail over against any political or religious persuasion. I am quite serious and insistent about the question of personal liberty. I haven’t gone to church since kindergarten, and even so, I am not any more proud than humble in my everyday dealings with real people in the real world – nice people like you, included…

I try to respect what YOU want first. But what you want is always what you want for yourself. Neither you, nor any organization pretending to moral authority – no matter how old and rooted in supposedly mythic truth – is ever going to turn the tide of history backward, and force human individuals to refuse their own personal beliefs and choices…

I am alive now. Think for yourself, no need to pay the groupies to attend your communal wedding in mooneville, in fact, don’t the groupies pay fakes like him so that they can be groupies…?

Forget it brother, religion is passed for me. It lives as a set of truth tales and mythic personality sets – emblems for human identity and moral responsibility. Now, only insofar as I prefer to conceive of the cosmos as I perceive it within my own heart, do I occasionally glimpse the prior unity among the eternal verities which impell the many wondrous myths of old scriptures and mythic poems…

Nobody needs to show me the obvious virtues of consciousness and reality. To be alone is no big deal either… You have to realize that some people want to have babies, and others do not want to… That’s all… Can you try to do that for a moment?

I’ll keep doing her for free, sweet man…

Originally posted by popo: Despite this wonderful example of ultra-terror, I am still skeptical about what you think about my opinion; I wonder if you appreciated the main point that I was trying to make above, Mr. Christian soldier

I’m a Christian??? BWAHAHAHAHAHA! Wrong again!

What’s the matter? Do you honestly believe that the only reasons against abortion are based on religion?
I oppose unfettered abortion because it subordinates the value of life to personal whim and convenience.

Disposable pens.
Disposable diapers.
Disposable marriages.
Disposable children.

Where does it end? All you’re doing is making it easier for someone, somewhere, sometime to decide YOU have become inconvenient and thus, disposable.

You still didn’t read what I said… The choice remains with the individual, that’s my point… Calling you a Christian is a tease, and I could have guessed you weren’t, but I am happy that you revealed yourself so clearly. Obviously, many of us are inflated with “knowing too much” about the way things are. YOU ARE A MAN… You have no right to tell A WOMAN what to do with her body… Of course, it is going to be a much better world, if and when we can educate people about how to use condoms if they need to enjoy sex… I feel quite disposed of myself, already – by everything and I’ve got used to it… The only thing I look forward to now is love. All my dreams are wasted and worn. It doesn’t matter. I care about my loved ones. I hope you do, too…


Originally posted by popo: YOU ARE A MAN... You have no right to tell A WOMAN what to do with her body...

Do you also think it’s OK for a pregnant woman to use drugs?

I don’t care what woman does with her body …it’s the baby I’m concerned with. An unborn human being is not the same as a woman’s fingernail clippings…

While it may be true that Taiwan lacks the fanatic Christian Right picking off its abortion doctors with high-powered rifles, there does exist a collective moral stance that abortion is wrong, primarily for two reasons: 1)because they believe it violates the Buddhist regard for the sanctity of all life. 2) because it is often the result of premarital sex, also considered morally wrong.

Perceived negative ramifications for aborting a fetus:

I recall reports in the local media that the recent decline in a particular actor’s career is because the ghost of her aborted fetus has been following her around since its abortion.
This concept of aborted fetuses following around or ‘haunting’ their mothers is widely-accepted as ‘retribution’ for having had an abortion. The fetus is said to remind the woman of the evil she’s done and to prevent the woman from experiencing maternal bliss when she does decide to have children.

Taiwanese women certainly have access to abortion doctors, and anyone who wants the procedure can easily find a way to have it done. But we’d be amiss to think that it doesn’t have emotional, societal, and ‘moral’ implications for the Taiwanese woman who chooses to do it.

To this end, the social stigmas of abortion have similar evolutionary roots as their American (specifically US) counterparts.