The number of abortions has reduced in Vietnam though it remained high at around 280,000 last year, including 2 percent by teenagers, according to figures from the General Population and Family Planning Department.
Department officials said at a recent meeting that abortions are down from 470,000 five years ago, a rate that put Vietnam among the world’s top countries.
Teenage abortions also dropped from more than 9,000 to 5,500.
But they admitted the real number could be much higher since the survey did not cover private clinics.
Education in sexual and reproductive health is limited, while youngsters become curious about sex at an early age.
That puts 14 million girls between 10 and 19, around 15 percent of Vietnam’s population, at risk of unexpected pregnancies.
Le Canh Nhac, deputy director of the department, said lack of sex education puts girls at a disadvantage compared with boys.
He cited international studies that show that pregnant teens do not only face the danger of unsafe abortions but can also become suicidal.
The Hanoi-based Institute for Reproductive and Family Health last week said its survey found many girls having abortions starting at 13, with some doing it multiple times.