Unsafe abortion prevention added to national healthcare system

Unsafe abortion prevention added to national healthcare system

Activists protest outside parliament on Jan 25 calling for the scrapping of Sections 301-305 of the Criminal Code. Section 301 punished a woman who terminated a pregnancy herself or allowed another person to do it with up to three years in prison and/or fine of 60,000 baht. (File photo: Wichan Charoenkiatpakul)
Activists protest outside parliament on Jan 25 calling for the scrapping of Sections 301-305 of the Criminal Code. Section 301 punished a woman who terminated a pregnancy herself or allowed another person to do it with up to three years in prison and/or fine of 60,000 baht. (File photo: Wichan Charoenkiatpakul)

The government has added unsafe abortion prevention services to the national healthcare system, to assist Thai women of all ages who find it necessary to terminate their pregnancy.

Deputy government spokeswoman Rachada Dhnadirek said on Tuesday that the government was aware of the problem of unplanned or unintended pregnancies. A considerable number of pregnant women were forced to terminate their pregnancy, with the inherent danger of an unsafe abortion.

The  National Health Security Office (NSHO) had therefore added unsafe pregnancy abortion prevention  services to the healthcare system, to take care of the safety of women of all ages and all healthcare treatment schemes who had to terminate a pregnancy. These services included both medicines and surgical procedures.

There were 144 service units registered with the Department of Health providing abortion services in 23 provinces, Ms Rachada said.

Termination of pregnancy for those who are 12 to 20 weeks pregnant is in accordance with the Criminal Code’s Section 305, which regulates abortion. It was published in the Royal Gazette on Sept 26 and  comes into effect 30 days after publication of the notice 

Ms Rachada said the NHSO had compiled information on services to prevent unsafe pregnancy abortion. In this fiscal year, a total 12,544 pregnant women had been taken care of. To prevent unintended pregnancies as well as unwanted pregnancies among teenagers, the gold card healthcare fund provided benefits covering semi-permanent contraception services such as insertion of intrauterine devices, contraceptive implants for women after termination of their pregnancies.

For the 2023 fiscal year, the NHSO was providing more access to emergency contraceptive pills, or morning-after pills,  at drugstores and also expanded service units to provide temporary contraception services at drugstores, medical clinics, community healthcare clinics and nursing clinics that joined the universal healthcare scheme.  


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