Reports of an increase in the number of young women having abortions have alarmed Guangzhou residents. But the subject is still taboo for officials to discuss openly, and there is resistance to making more information available in sex education classes. The Information Daily reported that Liao Can, a delegate to the Guangzhou People's Congress, had proposed changes to teaching materials to make sex education more effective. 'There has been a big increase in pre-marital sex, abortions and pre-marital pregnancies,' she said. 'Many secondary school children have a casual attitude towards sex. They regard sex as something fashionable and they want to be the first to experience it.' Dr Liao said sex education in schools was inadequate and ignorance was to blame for a sharp increase in the number of teenagers seeking abortions. Statistics from two hospitals in Liwan district showed that 15 per cent of all abortions were performed on girls under 20, with some as young as 13. Some of the girls had had previous abortions and some were dressed in school uniforms. It is not known how many more abortions there are as there are no comparative figures. But the Sun Yat-sen University's First Affiliated Hospital reported a similar trend. A staff member at the emergency surgery department said the hospital handled 10 to 12 abortions a day, with one or two involving women under 20. South China Normal University professor Wang Hongwei, who specialises in women's studies, said she advocated teaching students that sexual awareness was a normal part of their development. Xu Chunlian, the vice-chairwoman of the Guangdong Provincial Women's Federation, said girls should be given information to protect themselves.