Numerous tiny fetuses lie in unmarked graves dug by women from the abortion clinic across the street.
The staff at the small clinic in the heart of this ancient city don’t bury most of the fetuses — only those that have reached three or four months, when they clearly resemble miniature babies.
It is a secret hiding in plain sight, much like the rising rate of abortions among young, unmarried women in China.
While comprehensive data are hard to come by, official figures show abortions are increasing, and Chinese media and experts say many, if not most, of the abortion-seekers are young, single women.
Many blame the trend on newly liberal attitudes toward premarital sex, and lagging sex education. Bureaucratic red tape and social stigma also deter single women from having a child on their own, and laws bar women from marriage until they are 20, making teen pregnancy virtually unheard of. These factors and a lack of stigma surrounding abortion, or “artificial miscarriage,” as it’s known here, have helped make it a relatively cheap, widely available option for birth control.