Thailand's Unborn: A Case of RH Program Failure


The gruesome discovery of more than 2,000 foetuses in a Bangkok temple sent shockwaves across Thailand last November.

As most abortion is illegal in Thailand, the case has shone a spotlight on a massive backstreet industry and sparked national debate about the country's current abortion laws, which date from the 1950s.

Religion has played a significant social and political role in this debate. Theravada Buddhism in Thailand is a socially conservative force. About 95 per cent of the population are Buddhist and Buddhism remains closely tied to the state.

The Buddhist nation has strict laws on abortion and views it as a sin.
"In Buddhism, we see abortion as a sin. It definitely violates our religious belief. Killing is a sin. It doesn't matter whether the killing takes place inside or outside the womb, it's a sin," Phra Kru Wichitsorakul, the abbot of Phai Ngern temple, says.

Illegal abortion is a huge problem in Thailand, a country of 67 million people. Official statistics suggest around 300,000 abortions are carried out each year in Thailand, the vast majority in backstreet clinics.

And with hundreds of unwanted pregnancies illegally terminated every day, these foetuses have turned out to be just the tip of the iceberg.

Here is one proof that population control by means of government-sponsored contraception-only policies (no abortion is legal), like what is being proposed in our RH bill version, would also be a failure if it is only addressed at the physical dimension of the problem and not more on the psychological/spiritual dimension of it where the core of the problem resides. Thailand is an example where its people are resorting to abortion because the prevalence of unwanted pregnancies remain unsolved no matter how much contraceptives their government are providing. Another dismal case of inaccurate study of the problem that resulted to inaccurate solution which in turn resulted to ineffective result.