Thai Senate passes landmark bill to allow first trimester abortion


In a landmark decision, the Thai Senate approved amendments to Thailand’s abortion laws allowing women to terminate their pregnancy during the first trimester and also lessening the punishment for women who have an abortion after 12 weeks of pregnancy. The amendments will go into effect on February 12.

Abortion – during any stage of pregnancy – has been illegal under Thailand’s Criminal Code, with the exception that the pregnancy poses a health risk for the mother or if the woman was raped. If a woman terminated her pregnancy illegally during any stage, she faced to 3 years in prison and a fine of 60,000 baht.

Yesterday, the Senate approved to amend the Criminal Code to allow abortions performed by a qualified doctor during the first trimester, which is up to 12 weeks of pregnancy. Women would not need to give a reason for the abortion.

The Senate also approved to lessen the punishment for women who terminated their pregnancy illegally. Women who have an abortion after the first trimester now face up to 6 months in prison and a fine up to 10,000 baht.

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There were 165 votes in favour of the amendments and 7 against. 21 senators abstained from voting and 1 did not cast a vote.

Amended Sections 301 and 305 in Thailand’s Criminal Code:

Section 301: A woman who has an abortion after 12 weeks of pregnancy faces up to 6 months in prison and a fine up to 10,000 baht.

Section 305: The offender is not guilty if:

  • The pregnancy puts the mother at risk physically or psychologically.
  • The baby faces a significant risk of developing physical or mental disorder or disability.
  • The woman has been impregnated due to rape.
  • The woman is convinced there is no other option.
  • Second trimester abortions, up to 20 weeks of pregnancy, are approved by a doctor or public health professionals.

SOURCE: Nation Thailand

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Caitlin Ashworth

Caitlin Ashworth is a writer from the United States who has lived in Thailand since 2018. She graduated from the University of South Florida St. Petersburg with a bachelor’s degree in journalism and media studies in 2016. She was a reporter for the Daily Hampshire Gazette In Massachusetts. She also interned at the Richmond Times-Dispatch in Virginia and Sarasota Herald-Tribune in Florida.

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