Thai Senate votes in favor of early-stage legal abortion amendment, backing penalty against unregulated terminations

National –

Thai legislators have voted on an amendment regarding legalizing abortion for up to 12 weeks during pregnancy, supporting a penalty against unregulated terminations by non-medical practitioners.

The Senate spent eight hours debating three sessions before voting 166-7 in favor of the amendment of early-stage abortion on Monday night, January 25th.

According to the amendment, abortion for up to 12 weeks would be allowed to have legal abortions performed by specialized doctors without necessarily notifying any specific reasons.

Terminations after 12 weeks would only be allowed if a certified doctor indicates a high risk of fetal impairment, danger to the life of the mother, or if a pregnancy was the result of rape, deception, or coercion. If not, it would otherwise be punishable by up to six months in prison, or a fine of up to 10,000 baht, or both. Although Thai pro-choice groups applauded the approval of abortions for the first three months, they frowned upon the penalties for having an abortion done at a later date, claiming it is a mother’s right to make that decision regardless of the time period.

Abortion in Thailand will still be conditional and can only be done by licensed doctors. Performing an illegal abortion with non-medical practitioners is still strongly prohibited.

The new abortion amendment had passed its first reading last month and by the lower house last week. The implementation is expected to be announced later in the Royal Government Gazette to officially become effective per Thai law.

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