“Bangkok Post” continuously reported on November 17 and 18 that the Thai cabinet approved the draft amendment to the “Criminal Law” on the 17th, allowing women who are pregnant for less than 12 weeks to abort.
According to the report, 12 weeks is the interval recommended by the Medical Council of Thailand and The Royal Thai College of the Obstetricians and Gynecologists to allow safe abortion.
Rachada Dhanadirek, deputy spokesperson for the Prime Minister’s Office of Thailand, said that under the proposed amendment, women who are less than 12 weeks pregnant and are seeking to terminate their pregnancy will no longer face legal penalties.
She also said that the origin of this draft amendment was that on February 19 this year, the Constitutional Court of Thailand declared that Article 301 of the Criminal Law prohibits female abortion, which violates Article 28 of the Constitution concerning the people’s physical autonomy.
According to reports, Article 301 of the current Thai “Criminal Law” prohibits abortion, and women who have an illegal abortion can be sentenced to a maximum of three years in prison and a fine of 60,000 baht. However, its Article 305 lists exceptions, including the psychological or physical threat of pregnancy to the mother, the risk of fetal malformation or disability, and pregnancy caused by sexual assault. Under these conditions, women can legally abort.
The draft amendment to the Criminal Law just passed by the cabinet lowers the penalty. In the future, illegal abortions, that is, women who still have an abortion after 12 weeks of pregnancy will be sentenced to up to 6 months in prison and 10,000 baht.
Ratchada said that the draft amendment to the Criminal Law will be sent to the National Assembly for deliberation after the cabinet meeting of Thailand passes it. According to the request of the Constitutional Court, the National Assembly must pass the draft amendment to the Criminal Law and take effect in February 2020