ASEAN Underground Abortion

Abortion is an extremely taboo topic in some parts of conservative Southeast Asia.

ASEAN member states such as the Philippines and Lao do not permit abortion. Whereas Indonesia, Malaysia and Thailand only allow abortion if a medical practitioner deems that continuing the pregnancy poses a danger to the mother’s life and health. 

As many countries criminalise abortion, some women and girls with unwanted pregnancies could resort to unsafe abortions to terminate their pregnancies. Unsafe abortion is a life-threatening procedure typically carried out by persons lacking the necessary skills or in an environment that does not conform to minimal medical standards or both. 

According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), the largest number of unsafe abortions occur in Asia, with most of them in south and central Asia. Some of the barriers to accessing safe abortion include restrictive laws, poor availability of services, high cost and stigma. 

Athira Nortajuddin