SAFE ABORTION IN THAILAND:
TO THE UN UNIVERSAL PERIODIC REVIEW (UPR)
FOR THAILAND'S THIRD UPR CYCLE
39TH SESSION OF THE UPR WORKING GROUP
16 APRIL 2021
The 39th Session of the Universal Periodic Review (UPR) Working Group will conduct the 3rd UPR of Thailand. All interested individuals and organizations, including civil society organizations, activists, and academics with work related to Thailand were invited to provide their input ahead of the 3rd UPR cycle that will take place on 10th November 2021.
In this context, Manushya Foundation jointly with Tamtang Group collaborated on a joint UPR submission ahead of Thailand’s third Universal Periodic Review (UPR) cycle. The submission examines the compliance of Thailand with the recommendations it received during its 2nd UPR Cycle in relation to women’s rights to healthcare services, particularly sexual and reproductive health.
This submission documents Thailand’s legal framework regulating safe abortion, which is not in line with international human rights standards. This submission also discloses the religious and social stigma on abortion, which remains a controversial ‘taboo’ issue in Thailand. Thus, there is a real lack of access to safe abortion services, due to stigma, discrimination, lack of infrastructure, and high cost related to it.
In Thailand, girls and women who are unable to legally access safe abortion services resort to underground abortions, which are often unsafe and pose threats to the mother’s health and lives. According to a report by the Thailand’s Women and Reproductive Rights Foundation, the estimated number of women seeking underground abortion is 200,000 a year. This results in a 40 percent complication rate and a fatality rate estimated at 300 deaths per 100,000 abortions, a deeply troubling statistic when compared to less than one death in 100,000 abortions in developed countries.
This submission indicates that women are unable to adequately access safe abortion services in Thailand, resulting in violations of their human rights, in the following manner:
● the weak legal framework regulating abortion services;
● the lack of access to safe abortion services;
● the lack of information regarding safe abortion services and procedures;
● the religious and social stigma on abortion that prevent girls and women from undergoing abortion;
The submission also provides a set of recommendations to the Thai government, addressing the challenges and rights violations discussed in the foregoing sections.
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