Expert Advice on Birth Control
Even if you use some other methods of birth control, condom is the king. Condoms not only prevent pregnancy, they are the only solution that protects against sexually transmitted diseases. Just in case of new romantic sexual encounters – you meet that "perfect" person, and... get caught in the heat of the moment. Condoms also protect you (and potentially your partner) from urinary and vaginal infections. Although, condoms are commonly available almost everywhere, keep in mind that selection and quality may be limited.
STD on the Rise
Sexually Transmitted Diseases (STD) cases are on the rise in Thailand. In the past five years, the number of STD patients has almost doubled. According to the Public Health Ministry, in 2009 alone, nearly 25,000 cases have been recorded. The most prevalent STDs are gonorrhea with over 7,000 cases, followed by pseudogonorrhoea and syphilis, and most patients are between 15 to 24.
Is your laptop cooking your testicles? (Reuters Health)
Oral Contraceptives – "The Pill"
A large number of locally made over-the-counter (without a doctor’s prescription) birth control pills are sold in widely accessible drugstores and pharmacy shops in Thailand. Virtually all pharmacists are English speaking. Many local and generic brands of contraceptive pills are broadly available throughout Thailand. They obstruct sperm from fertilizing an egg and are reliable, effective and inexpensive. Government hospitals provide the contraceptive pill for free, or for a donation of five baht or so. These pills, however, usually contain high-dose of oestrogen hormone and might have adverse side effects.
Air Travel During Pregnancy
Quite often we are asked if it is safe to fly during pregnancy. The answer is:
According to the Thai law (in effect since 1956), abortions are illegal in Thailand, except for the girls under the age of 15 or with a serious illness, and when the pregnancy threatens the woman’s health or results from rape or incest. Yet de facto, the abortion law is rarely enforced, and illegal abortions remain common and an important public health issue for women in Thailand. There is evidence of wide public support led by women's groups, medical and legal professionals for the reform of abortion laws to widen the circumstances under which an abortion is legal.
Ethical and Religious Concerns of Abortions in Thailand
Buddhism is the state religion in Thailand and Thais try to setup their legal system in line with Buddhist principles. Buddhism is generally depicted as extremely tolerant without attempting to impose its teachings on individuals. Although Buddhist morality is contextual and relative, it is not generally antinomian. Basically, the moral consequences of an act are determined by one's will or motivation. If the will behind an act is driven by greed, hatred, or delusion, which Buddhists regard as the three fundamental aspects of selfishness, then the act is deemed unskillful and be doomed.
It has been mentioned by many experts that some 400,000 women in Thailand annually undergo illicit abortions, although it's impossible to get accurate statistics. Dr Suriyadeo Tripathi, director of National Institute for Child and Family Development, said that about 300,000 women and girls sought illegal abortions every year. The extend of dead foetuses, which is probably just a tip of Thailand's illicit abortion iceberg, stun the nation's conscience.
Abortion Policy and Practices in Thailand
Some medical professionals more or less discretely advertise for abortion business, but many abortionists are untrained, which commonly leads to the dreadful consequences.
Important remarks! (Are You Pregnant?)
According to records of the Department of Health, each year 10,000 students under the age of 15 have become pregnant in Thailand. An age-old issue of students premature pregnancy and their legal right to compulsory education attracts much controversy, primarily if it's related to early teen pregnancy.
By and large teenage girls don't intend to get pregnant. They just lack life’s experience. By denying them education, it isn't just punishing them, which is wrong anyways, but a punishment for their children and families alike. They have already been punished by having to look after a child at such young age, but to cut short their educational opportunity...
One can argue that the current policy of expelling pregnant teenage students is against the law, as Thailand is signatory to the convention on the rights of the child. Still, a Students Pregnancy Bill proposed by the Thai government draws a hot debate. A draft bill intends to give pregnant students the legal right to take maternal leave and continue their studies after giving birth.
"A right is not something that somebody gives you;
it is something that nobody can take away."
Teenage sex has been going on since the get-go, but in Thai culture it has largely been a thing that in the past wasn’t spoken about whatsoever. Apparently, showing affection in public, such as holding hands, hugging and kissing has been frowned upon culturally in Thailand. But eventually, those taboos along with an attitude to sex are changing with the younger generation. Education on sexual matters and safe sex lessons in schools would definitely help prevent underage premature pregnancies and should be urged by all concerned.
The best sex education should start at home, where youngsters feel free to address the questions of their curiosity with the people they trust most. It would be absolutely wrong for parents to dismiss these questions from their children. Adults need to learn that the best approach is to provide youngsters with sufficient information, so to enable them to make the right decisions for themselves. Instead of preaching about morality and correct behaviour, we has a duty to provide education for our youth, and a supportive environment when things go wrong.
Young mothers should not be punished by society – they have committed no crime, and above all, they are entitled to have an opportunity to raise their children to become quality citizens.
To be continued...
Thailand Time –