From October 27th, women in Thailand in their 12th to 20th weeks of pregnancy can get an abortion legally at any of the 110 hospitals and clinics offering the services across the country, subject to prior consultation with experts.
The legal terminations are in line with an edict issued by the Ministry of Public Health regarding examinations and consultations.
The change is intended to address the problem many women face when they feel they are not ready to have a child, but do not have a channel through which they can seek consultation.
Dr. Boonyarit Sookrat, director of the Bureau of Reproductive Health at the Department of Health, said that the Public Health Ministry’s edict on abortions had been approved by the Thai Medical Council and is in line with the constitutional principle that an individual has rights and liberties over their life and body.
He also pointed out that the doctors performing abortions within the new regulations will not be subject to legal action for performing a termination.
He also said that, even though abortions are to become legal, there are women who do not want their pregnancy because they are not ready, but are afraid of committing a sin, hence the need of prior consultation with experts.
The hospitals and clinics licensed to provide abortion services are in 39 provinces across the country. Women can use their gold health cards to receive services at state hospitals.
More details about abortion services can be found at the rsathai.org website or by calling the 1663 hotline.
Pro-choice advocate, Supecha Baotip, who has been campaigning for the legalisation of abortions in Thailand for more than 10 years, hailed the new abortion law as a big step forward in addressing the problem of unwanted pregnancies.
She also described the requirement for pregnant women to seek prior expert consultation as a reasonable approach.
Another abortion rights advocate, Sudarat Boonprasert, said she had a termination about five years ago and that, at that time, there were no channels through which she could seek consultation about her pregnancy.