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Legalized Abortion

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  • Legalized Abortion

    Abortions up to 20 weeks will be legal from Thursday

    Women in Thailand now will be able to get alegal abortion up to 20 weeks into their pregnancy. Last year Thailand legalised abortion up to 12 weeks. The new guidelines will go into effect on Thursday and abortions will be performed at 110 hospitals and clinics throughout the nation. This follows the decision by the Ministry of Public Health about consultations and examinations for pregnant women.

    The ministry issued an edict last month considering women who may not have access to proper consultation regarding their pregnancy. When a woman is in a situation where she is unable or unready to carry a pregnancy to term and raise a child, the legalisation of abortions after 20 weeks will allow her to receive the help and healthcare she needs.

    The Thai Medical Council approved the edict and found that it was following the constitutional principles that should guarantee Thai citizens control and rights over their body and their lives. The decision was reported by the Department of Health’s director of the Bureau of Reproductive Health. The move has been seen as a huge accomplishment by pro-choice advocates who have been calling for the legalisation of abortion in Thailand for over a decade. Thailand has been plagued with unviable or unwanted pregnancies and a lack of support available for pregnant women in peril.

    The new programme allows women to consult with experts to understand and evaluate their pregnancy and their choice. Many Thai women do not want to carry a pregnancy to term but are afraid of social or religious pressures deterring them from abortion. The new law would allow women access to consultation before getting an abortion. It would also preclude doctors who perform abortions at up to 20 weeks from facing legal prosecution.

    In January last year, Thailand’s Parliament voted to legalise abortion in the first trimester (up to 12 weeks). However, criminal penalties remained in place for women who aborted pregnancies over 12 weeks and did not meet the criteria set by the country’s Medical Council. Similarly, any person or clinic found to provide abortions after the 12-week limit would face fines and imprisonment. This new legalisation would extend the legal period from 12 to 20 weeks.

    The 110 locations it will be available to perform abortions starting Thursday are spread across 39 provinces. Gold health cards will be accepted for service at government hospitals. Women in need can call 1663 to contact the hotline for the Thai Referral System for Safe Abortion. Their website is for more information.