A Chinese hospital is offering teens 50 percent off on abortion costs just by showing their student ID, thus triggering a debate on the casual attitude towards abortions in the country.
The Chonqing Huaxi Women's Hospital held a "Students Care Month" and issued fliers showing a schoolgirl with an explanation that their procedure is a "painless and quick operation that will not stretch your womb, nor do any damage. Your studies will not be affected afterward," reports the China Daily.
But the hospital's controversial sales campaign to acquire a larger share in the market for abortions, which generates billions of yuan per year, has not been seen as unique by students.
According to health experts, there are many other provinces across China that have had similar marketing campaigns for years, a women's hospital in Guangdong province is one, as well as several hospitals in Hubei province.
"There are abortion advertisements spray-painted or pasted on walls, wire poles and toilets in almost every college," said Tang Yunyun, a senior student from a vocational training college in Chongqing.
The experts have also revealed that the average cost of an abortion is 600 yuan and hospitals and clinics have been competing for a bigger share of the abortion market.
The fierce competition pushed the Chongqing Government in 2006 to ban newspapers from publishing abortion advertisements.
Last year, the government forbade youth TV channels and TVs on buses from broadcasting similar promotions.
"The advertisement sends a twisted message that painless abortion does little damage and is affordable," stated a netizen from Beijing, who added that the ad "encourages unprotected sex".
Approximately 13 million abortions are carried out in China each year, according to the National Population and Family Planning Commission's technology research centre.
The actual number of abortions is much higher, because the figures are collected only from registered medical institutions, said Wu Shangchun, the centre's division director.
In China, most students are not financially independent, enticing them to go to illegally operated clinics for cheaper abortions.
"Pregnancy is not easy for students who often don't have a job. It stresses them out and humiliates them. Abortions should be affordable for all women who need one," Hu Jing, a 17-year-old local high school student, said.
The Chongqing Huaxi Women's Hospital has refused to comment on their advertising campaign.