SOUTH KOREA/THAILAND – Decriminalisation: Reimagining Legal Change: A Webinar on 24 March 2021

The two discussants, Sulaiporn Chonwilai from Tamtang Group, Thailand, and Na Young from SHARE, South Korea, are Inroads members who have been working to bust abortion stigma through their work for legal change. They are part of movements and collectives working for abortion law change with a focus on reproductive justice, stigma-busting, and inclusiveness for the HIV-positive and LGBTQ community.

  • It’s time to move away from the legalisation/decriminalisation paradigm in Asia toward Reproductive Justice frameworks. We need to question and collaborate beyond just free, safe, legal abortions in order to supporting people who have abortions with other resources (financial, counselling, destigmatised abortion leave at workplace).
  • In Asian contexts, stigma is less of a Christian religious or moral issue, and more about unmarried and young people’s pregnancies. Parents, partners and agencies are the ones that are generating the stigma.
  • It’s important to question societal and governmental norms, instead of individual choices. We do not need to be talking about whose abortion should be permitted, but instead how the society and government can create space for and allow abortions.
  • The Buddhist context in Thailand and the monarchy system are also relevant. There is an historical context of population control in South Korea.
  • Future ideas for legal change: to work on an Asian Reproductive Justice Network, and discuss self-managed abortion more in South Asia as part of a reproductive justice approach.