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Historic abortion bill passes first reading

Historic abortion bill passes first reading

THAILAND: A cabinet-sponsored bill that seeks to legalise early-stage abortions passed its first reading yesterday (Dec 23).

By Bangkok Post

Thursday 24 December 2020, 08:36AM

The cabinet-sponsored bill was debated in the House of Representatives yesterday (Dec 23). Photo: Bangkok Post

The cabinet-sponsored bill was debated in the House of Representatives yesterday (Dec 23). Photo: Bangkok Post

The bill would for the first time allow women who are up to 12 weeks pregnant to have abortions performed by a qualified doctor should they request it for any reason.

They would not need to show they have been raped or that the pregnancy threatens their life or that the unborn baby would be born disabled.

However, it would still be illegal for women who are more than 12 weeks pregnant to have an abortion.

The Criminal Code currently criminalises abortions across the board regardless of the age of the foetus.

The cabinet-sponsored bill was one of two debated in the House of Representatives yesterday.

The other draft, initiated by the Move Forward Party (MFP), proposed allowing abortions to be performed on women up to 24 weeks pregnant.

In the end, the House voted in favour of the cabinet-sponsored bill and it will now be put to a scrutiny committee in parliament.

Currently, the law forbids women self-performing an abortion or allowing someone else to perform it.

Both offences are punishable by up to three years in jail, a fine or up to B60,000 or both. If the bill passes, the law would specify punishments for abortions carried out on pregnancies beyond 12 weeks.

The debate went on in the chamber while outside, activists called in vain for the lawmakers to back the MFP bill, which they described as liberal and “open-minded”.

The bill states that the phrase “pregnant women” be dropped in favour of “pregnant individuals” as some female-to-male transgender people remain able to conceive.

Sulaiporn Chonwilai, an independent researcher and adviser to the Women Help Women (WHW), said the group had earlier campaigned for pregnancies beyond 24 weeks to also be made legal, although agreeing to strict conditions.

From her experience in advising and helping pregnant women, Ms Sulaiporn said 20-30 of them had sought to have abortions after they were 12 weeks pregnant.

That showed, she said, that the cabinet-sponsored draft may not reflect reality or be practical.

She said WHW also wanted MPs to cancel Section 301 of the Criminal Code which punishes women for self-performing the abortion or consenting to have someone else performing it.

The proposed amendments would enable pregnant women to have a safe abortion procedure, said Ms Sulaiporn.

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PhuketRe | 25 December 2020 - 07:46:51

DeKaaskopp, Capricornball  if you dont want to have have kids you use condoms or pills - not kill them  when they are powerless.

DeKaaskopp | 24 December 2020 - 11:13:19

Well done Thailand !!!

Capricornball | 24 December 2020 - 11:12:54

Sad day for you PhuketRe, since you clearly feel you have the right determine what is best for everyone, regardless of their circumstances.

DeKaaskopp | 24 December 2020 - 11:12:03

OMG PhuketRe ! What an antiquated opinion . Straight from medieval times. Are you one of those walking around the neighborhood ,knocking on ones door and trying to convince them of a certain religion/ cult /sect /community of faith ?

PhuketRe | 24 December 2020 - 08:48:30

Very sad day for the country - organized genocide of 21st century. Instead of evolving we are going back in civilization to allow killing those who cannot fight for themselves. This Move Forward party is nothing else than modern communist, socialist organization with marxist plan on the agenda and should be banned as such! Feminists preaching "my body, my choice" until the man have to pa...


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