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Exploring legal restrictions, regulatory reform, and geographic disparities in abortion access in Thailand

Arnott, Grady and Sheehy, Grace and Chinthakanan, Orawee and Foster, Angel M. (2017) Exploring legal restrictions, regulatory reform, and geographic disparities in abortion access in Thailand. Health and Human Rights Journal, 19 (1). ISSN 2150-4113

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Abstract

Despite decades of advocacy among Thai governmental and nongovernmental actors to remove abortion from the country’s 1957 Criminal Code, this medically necessary service remains significantly legally restricted. In 2005, in the most recent regulatory reform to date, the Thai Medical Council established regulatory measures to allow a degree of physician interpretation within the confines of the existing law. Drawing on findings from a review of institutional policies and legislative materials, key informant interviews, and informal discussions with health service providers, government representatives, and nonprofit stakeholders, this article explores how legal reforms and health policies have shaped the abortion landscape in Thailand and influenced geographic disparities in availability and accessibility. Notwithstanding a strong medical community and the recent introduction of mifepristone for medication abortion (also known as medical abortion), the narrow interpretation of the regulatory criteria by physicians further entrenches these disparities. This article examines the causes of subnational disparities, focusing on the northern provinces and the western periphery of Thailand, and explores strategies to improve access to abortion in this legally restricted setting.

Item Type: Article
Official URL: https://www.hhrjournal.org
Additional Information: © 2017 The Author(s) CC BY 3.0
Subjects: K Law > K Law (General)
Sets: Departments > Law
Date Deposited: 24 Jul 2017 11:41
Last Modified: 26 Jul 2017 08:45
Funders: Ontario Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care, Society of Family Planning
URI: http://eprints.lse.ac.uk/id/eprint/83646

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