Call for the decriminalization of Women's access to safe abortion at Thailand's 3rd UPR!
Manushya Foundation jointly with Tamtang Group collaborated on a joint UPR submission ahead of Thailand’s 3rd 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 is the third time Thailand has undergone review under the UPR. During the 2nd UPR cycle, the Thai government received six recommendations related to rights to access to healthcare, especially sexual and reproductive health, which the government all supported. However, our assessment demonstrates that the government has not implemented any of the recommendations since its last UPR, therefore failing to ensure girls’ and women’s right to access safe abortion services.
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.