The government said Tuesday that abortion up to 20 weeks will be permitted in Thailand, easing restrictions on pregnant people’s access to the previously prohibited medical practice.
Up until February of last year, when it was made permissible for pregnant women up to 12 weeks, abortions were still prohibited in the kingdom, save in cases of rape or threats to the mother’s life.
However, the country with a majority of Buddhists still views abortion with great stigma as a result of a 2010 incident in which 2,000 unlawfully aborted foetuses were found in a temple.
According to a government statement released on Tuesday, terminations of up to 20 weeks would now be allowed and “the termination will not count as a crime.”
Abortion used to be illegal and may result in a fine of up to 10,000 baht ($263), up to six months in jail, or both.
Women seeking legal abortions who are above 12 weeks pregnant but under 20 weeks must meet specific requirements, according to a notice published in the Royal Gazette on Monday.
In accordance with the government’s official statement, individuals in this group must “consult with medical consultants so that the woman has all of the information before she decides to terminate the pregnancy.”
Despite the law’s amendment in February of last year, access to abortions is still severely restricted throughout the kingdom.
According to Traisuree Traisoranakul, a deputy government spokesperson, women seeking abortions must be handled respectfully and in absolute confidence.
She continued by saying that they needed to be given all the medical data and shouldn’t be under any pressure to make a choice.
30 days after the notification is published, the new law will take effect.
(with inputs from agencies)