Vietnam Television aired a story on Wednesday about a woman in the northern province of Hai Duong who had 18 abortions because her husband wants a son.
The story quickly spread on the Internet in Vietnam, where gender-based abortion is believed to be widespread.
The woman, whose identity has been protected, said her life has been hard due to both poverty and the pressure of giving birth to a male child.
Her husband is the eldest son in his family and many families in rural Vietnam still stick to the age-old tradition that only sons can inherit and protect the family assets and values.
After the first four births of all girls, her husband was disappointed and she was depressed.
She decided to terminate all pregnancies unless it’s a boy.
In the video, she did not say how many abortions she had had, but the newsreader reported 18 abortions in total when introducing the story.
Although her story is extreme and it might be rare for a woman to have that many abortions, sex-selective abortions are quite common in the country, whose sex ratio at birth reported last September was 120 baby boys per 100 girls.
At several areas in northern Vietnam, the ratio was nearly 150/100, vice minister of health Nguyen Viet Tien said at a conference.
The government is trying to curb sex-selective abortions by banning medical staffs from revealing the gender of the embryos, but Tien said even if it is practiced strictly, it is not an effective solution.
He said obstetric technologies in southern Vietnam are more advanced than the north, but the sex ratio is very skewed in the Red River Delta.
He said the fundamental solution is to change people’s mindset.