Abortion in Taiwan was legalized in 1985. However, the coditions for attaining one were and still are highly restrictive. From Women On Waves:
A woman does not have an automatic right to an abortion in Taiwan and can only get one under the following circumstances:
1.) medical reasons – danger to the mother or fetus including deformities and defects – this includes psychological trauma to the mother
2.) rape or incest (which must, apparently, be “proven”)
3.) “seduction” – meant to cover statutory rape but can technically be used as a reason by a woman of any age
4.) mental/psychological issues of the parent(s) that could be passed on to the child A Taiwanese woman must obtain the consent of her husband, unless the husband is missing, unconscious or mentally ill.
An unmarried woman under the age of 20 must obtain the permission of her parents, and a woman who is mentally handicapped needs the permission of a guardian.
This may be about to change, but only one aspect of it: “spousal consent”. Women will no longer be required to obtain agreement from the sperm donor, preventing them from using pregnancy as a means of controlling women. There is no mandatory child support requirement, so if a deadbeat abandons a woman after giving birth, she has to legally fight for child support. In regards to “seduction”, extramarital affairs were still a crime in Taiwan until 2020.
The Health Promotion Administration (HPA) is drafting an amendment to remove the requirement for married women to obtain permission from their partner before having an abortion, which it hopes to present by March, it said on Wednesday.
Under Article 9 of the Genetic Health Act (優生保健法), induced abortion by a married woman “shall be subject to her husband’s consent unless her husband is missing, unconscious or deranged.”
A petition calling for the removal of the provision was on Wednesday last week launched on the National Development Council’s Public Policy Network Participation Platform, where it had already received more than 7,400 signatures as of yesterday.
Five thousand signatures are needed for petitions to be considered. The marriage equality petition of 2018 garnered 330,000 signatures. (I’ll admit that I didn’t sign it, but I didn’t know about it either or I would have.) Like the change that granted marriage equality but only to Taiwanese couples or a Taiwanese with a foreigner from a country with marriate equality, this proposed change of law is flawed. There should be abortion on demand with no conditions.
I suspect the Taiwan government is changing it this way because young people drove the Orange Revolution of 2014. But the government also wants to restrict abortion to increase the population. In 2020, the birth rate is 8.0 per thousand and death rate is 7.9 per thousand. Taiwan has the lowest fertility rate in the world and third lowest birth rate, which means an ageing population and shortage of labour.
Limiting abortion is one way to reduce that. Offering tax breaks and financial incentives would also help, but the country doesn’t offer that. Women see themselves better off being single financially and career-wise, so they’re choosing not to have kids.