This paper reports on a qualitative study in 2007-08 on the abortion experiences of teenage women from deprived backgrounds in Hong Kong. Twenty-nine young women aged 13-24 who had undergone one or more induced abortions in their teen years were interviewed and participated in group empowerment sessions. Ten were unemployed, four were students, the rest were employed on low pay in unskilled occupations. Abortion services are legal and available in public and private services, but they charge fees ranging from HK$310 to $10,000, and do abortions only up to 24 weeks of pregnancy. Many young women resort to poor quality illegal clinics and clinics in mainland China because the cost is lower, they do not wish to tell their parents, who would be asked for consent, and/or they want to protect their sex partners, who may be reported and prosecuted if the girl is under-age. There is a need to strengthen services for teenage women in Hong Kong, especially those who are pregnant and from deprived backgrounds. There is also a need for professionals who deliver adolescent health and social welfare services, and for society to rethink and re-examine its views and attitudes towards teenage pregnancy, sexuality and abortion.
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