Hanoi -- Vietnam has the world's highest abortion rate, with two pregnancies ending in abortion in rural areas for every live birth, a newspaper reported yesterday.
The paper Lao Dong quoted Le Quoc Khanh, vice-chairman of the National Assembly's Commission on Social Affairs, as saying the overall proportion was 50-50 when cities were included in the statistics.
Health officials urged the Government to conduct more educational campaigns to cut the trend.
Traditionally, large families have been common in Vietnam's agriculture-based society, with children taught at an early age to help out in the rice paddies.
But in recent years, with so-called overpopulation, the Government has been encouraging couples to have no more than two children.
In the cities, couples often have tests to determine the sex of the unborn child. Sons are desirable because they are expected to take care of their parents in old age while daughters become part of their husbands' families, so female babies are more likely to be aborted.