Draft law tightens abortion regulations

Teenagers will likely need to get permission from their parents or guardian when they wish to have an abortion, according to a new regulation.

The draft law on population, which is being completed by the Ministry of Health based on the results of a public survey, stipulated that anyone aged under 18 years would need the consent of one or both of their parents or guardian for an abortion.

Prof. Nguyen Lan Dung, Chairman of the Vietnam Biology Association, said the draft law did not mention education in biology, which was a huge omission.

Figures from HCM City's Department of Population and Family Planning revealed that some 300,000 abortions are performed annually across the nation. Of these, some 150,000 abortions were for teenagers.

According to the United Nations' Population Fund, Vietnam is one of the five countries with the highest abortion rates in the world, topping all countries in Southeast Asia. An estimated 46 out of every 1,000 women give birth between the ages of 15 and 19.

The law also stipulates that abortions are permitted for women who are under 12 weeks pregnant. Those who are more than 12 weeks pregnant will only get permission for an abortion if they are victims of a crime, if the pregnancy poses a danger to their health or if the baby is at risk of developing congenital defects.

The law also bans all activities related to foetal sex selection and bans family members from pressuring couples to deliver a boy or a girl.