InducedAbortion in Japan Yumi Mikajiri
General Definition • Induced abortion is the termination of pregnancy which performed purposely less than 28 weeks after the last menstrual period. Or • The expulsion of a fetus from the uterus before it has reached the stage of viability (in human beings, usually about the 20th week of gestation). http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/1498/abortion
Abortion Policy in Japan To save the life of the woman Yes To preserve physical health Yes To preserve mental health No* Rape or incest Yes Foetal impairment No* Economic or social reasons Yes Available on request No
Additional requirements • Induced abortions are allowed only within the first 24 weeks of gestation. • All legal abortions must be performed within medical facilities at the discretion of a physician designated by a local medical association. • The consent of the woman or her spouse is required. • When the pregnancy is a result of rape or incest, the abortion can be performed without the legal consent of the woman.
Laws the Criminal Code the Maternal Protection Law In its original form, the Eugenic Protection Lawhad a two purpose: 1) to increase the number of Japanese 2) to prevent the birth of genetically inferior offspring and promote a genetically healthy population. The Law was a product of socio-economic conditions in Japan in the years immediately following the Second World War, when the country faced a serious imbalance between its rapidly growing population and war-shattered economy. The current law was amended in 1996. The idea of eugenics was removed. • It prohibits the performance of all abortions; • a woman who performs her own abortion 1 year’s imprisonment • a person who performs an abortion on another 2 years’ imprisonment • Medical personnel are subject to harsher penalties.
Reality • While Japan’s abortion law allows abortions to be performed on the specific ground of physical health, it contains no specific mental health grounds, nor does it specifically authorize abortions to be performed in the case of foetal impairment. • However, since the law allows abortions to be performed for socio-economic reasons, mental health and foetal impairment grounds are presumably covered by this ground. • Currently, abortion is widely as a primary mode of fertility control in Japan. • Abortion played a significant role during the early years of the overall fertility decline, with contraception subsequently playing a greater role.
Statistics • According to health authorities, the number of induced abortions in Japan continued to increase after the Eugenic protection law was enacted. • A peak was reached in 1955, when more than 1,170,000 abortions were reported against about 1,731,000 officially registered live births. • Thereafter, the number of induced abortions gradually decreased. • In contrast to the general declining trend in the total incidence of abortion, the number of abortions obtained by women with low parity and by teenagers has been increasing since the late 1970s. • As reported by one study in 1990, pregnancies among adolescents in Japan occur at a rate of about 22 per 1,000, and most of them end in abortion.
Cont. • 2002 • Abortion • 329,326 • Tumor disease • 304,286 • 2005 • Abortion • 289,127 • Tumor disease • 325,941
Reasons • The most off-cited reason • 1st reason • the couple are not married. • 28 % of the 122 women who experienced abortion. • 2nd reason • Financial difficulties with 16 percent. • The high incidence of abortion in Japan is believed to be due in part to Government restrictions on contraceptive use. • Oral contraception was illegal in Japan until 1999. Until then, it could be obtained from physicians for the control of irregular menstrual cycles and for other medical purposes but not for birth control. • The National Survey on Family Planning in Japan conducted in 1986 found that about 80 per cent of contraceptive users relied upon the condom. The survey results also demonstrated a relatively high rate of contraceptive failure; about 31 per cent of the women surveyed had undergone one or more abortions.
References • Abortion. (2009). In Encyclopædia Britannica. Retrieved December 07, 2009, from Encyclopædia Britannica Online: http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/1498/abortion • The Population Policy Data Bank maintained by the Population Division of the Department for Economic and Social Affairs of the United Nations Secretariat.Retrieved December 07, 2009, from www.un.org/esa/population/publications/abortion/doc/japan.doc • Kato, Mariko, "FYI: Abortion and the Pill, Abortion still key birth control", Japan Times, October 20, 2009. Retrieved December 07, 2009, fromhttp://search.japantimes.co.jp/cgi-bin/nn20091020i1.html • National Institute of Population andSocial Security Research.Retrieved December 07, 2009, fromhttp://www.ipss.go.jp/index-e.html • Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare Oganaizastion. Retrieved December 07, 2009, from http://www.mhlw.go.jp/english/index.html
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