18 Oct 2004
Last month I was in Yinchuan on business. I normally hate watching TV in China, but when I’m on a business trip, bored in a hotel at night, I’ll often turn the TV on. It was on one such instance that I happened to see a commercial which really disturbed me.
The beginning of the commercial had a man and a woman doing a soap opera-esque scene. I don’t remember it too clearly, because I wasn’t paying close attention at that point. Then in big letters some words popped on the screen: “Pregnant? Don’t know what to do?”
I braced myself.
“Then let us take care of it!” they excitedly urged. The camera was panning a clean, attractive medical clinic. Yes, I was watching a TV commercial for an abortion clinic.
That was bad enough, but what totally went beyond tasteless was the “procedure” scene. There was a sideshot of a woman on the operating table, a doctor at her feet. The doctor’s hands were doing something between the woman’s legs, which was blocked by the woman’s legs and hospital gown. Meanwhile the narration continued, promising a fast, painless procedure that would not harm chances of future pregnancy.
I was repulsed. Regardless of your views on the morality of abortion, I think everyone can agree that it’s not a procedure which should be taken lightly.
I told my girlfriend about the commercial and asked if she’d ever seen a commercial like that on TV. She said no. She said a commercial like that would not get on the air in Shanghai.
She then went on to tell me that a lot of girls she knows (most of them young) have had abortions. One girl she knew was 23, married, and wanted to have a child, but couldn’t because she had had three abortions and was no longer capable of having children.
It all just makes me so sad….
NOTE: I’m a tolerant guy, but this is an especially sensitive issue. If your comment is intentionally offensive or tasteless it’s going to be deleted without hesitation.