Legality of Abortion in Thailand
The discovery of almost 2000 aborted fetus in Bangkok Thailand alarmed Thai government especially the Senate to push the Pro-life Reproductive Health Bill in the country.
Abortion in Thailand is illegal.
Abortion has been understood by many as termination of unwanted pregnancy. Article 305 of Thai Penal Code states that abortion is illegal except in cases when it is committed by a medical practitioner and is considered only as necessary if the same endangers the health of the mother or when the pregnancy is due to sexual offenses such as rape and incest.The issue regarding abortion in Thailand has been considered as a politically sensitive issue which alarms not only the government but by several activist as well as known feminists in Thailand.
It is undeniable that the issue needs great consideration. As a country with Buddhism as its primary religion, abortion is not legally accepted except in the aforementioned instances. Hence, move to allow the same to be legal has become a continued clamor for those in favor of abortion. Advocates of abortion emphasized the need to make abortion legal in Thailand for socio-economic protection of the people specially the women. They move to broaden the exceptions provided in the Thai Criminal Code allowing abortion to include the following instances such as: fetus infirmity, AIDS/HIV infection and failure of contraceptive device. They also seek to include in the term “health” not only physical health but mental health as well. So that, if the mother or the parent is not mentally ready to have a baby, abortion can be a legal means available as an option to her. Legally, according to the supporters, there is yet no crime when the fetus is aborted. They argue that the Thai Civil and Commercial Code of Thailand states that the fetus while inside the mother’s womb is not yet considered as having any legal right as a person under the law until it was completely delivered and alive. Legal recognition of the fetus according to them starts only when the fetus is born alive.
Feminists who support abortion argued that abortion will eliminate gender discrimination in Thailand, as a law allowing abortion will promote the “right of women to choose”. It will also reduce the high rate of women seeking illegal abortion. The necessity of legalizing abortion in Thailand according to them will also reduce the rate of death among women caused by unsafe abortion. Abortion when legalized in Thailand will protect women especially the women for they will no longer resort to dangerous illegal abortion.
The adversaries of abortion on the other hand stresses that legalizing abortion in Thailand runs counter to teachings of Buddhism. They argued that life of the unborn fetus should also be protected as it is also given value as a human being. Allowing abortion in Thailand according to them is a deviation from Thai traditional values and customs. They maintained that abortion is a sin.
On the part of the government, the Senate now considers an immediate passage of the Pro-life Reproductive Health Bill which is considered as a preventive measure that will give cultural awareness to Thai nationals and will give information on effective Birth Control Methods. In the said Bill, the government is mandated to provide accommodation for young mothers as well as their newly born babies’ free health care. It maintains that legalizing abortion is not the solution to Thailand high rate of population growth. It says that effective sex education is better than amendments to legal abortion in Thailand.