Cabinet agrees to amend abortion law to protect women’s rights, ensure safety

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The Cabinet has agreed to amend the Criminal Code making it possible for women to terminate their pregnancy of up to 12 weeks, government deputy spokesperson Ratchada Thanadirek said.

This decision has been made based on recommendations offered by the Medical Council and the Royal College of Obstetricians of Thailand.

Before this, women were legally allowed to abort pregnancies of up to three months, but had to seek a doctor’s approval for foetuses any older than that.

Now, however, it has been determined that it is safe to abort foetuses of up to 12 weeks without the risk of complications or risk to life.

Meanwhile, the penalty on illegal abortions has also been reduced because the mother suffers both physical and emotional pain when undergoing an abortion.

The amended law reads as follows:

Section 301: A woman who aborts a foetus that is older than 12 weeks shall be liable to no more than six months in prison and/or a fine of Bt10,000.

The penalty for this originally was up to three years in prison and/or a fine of Bt60,000.

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 mother-to-be is convinced there is no other option.

The amendments will be submitted to the Coordinating Committee of the House of Representatives before being proposed to the Parliament for urgent consideration, so it can go into effect before February 12, 2021.