In Thailand, new abortion freedoms face spiritual resistance

In a breakthrough for reproductive rights in Southeast Asia, anyone seeking a first-trimester abortion in Thailand can get one legally from February.

Yet, they may still face resistance when turning up to a clinic, according to longtime abortion rights advocate Supecha Baotip.

“Many doctors and nurses don’t want to do it, even though it’s now totally legal,” she said. “That’s about more than just a feeling. It’s about belief on the spiritual level.”

Outside of rare cases, abortion is illegal in other large Southeast Asian countries such as Indonesia, which is majority Islamic, and the Philippines, a bastion of Catholicism. Islam and Catholicism are staunchly opposed to abortion.

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