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  • » 10/30/2006, 00.00

    THAILAND

    Catholics and Buddhists together against the legalisation of abortion

    Weena Kowitwanji

    For Cardinal Kitbunchu, it is tragic that mothers should want an abortion. Buddhist monk explains there is no need to kill; all that is needed is to provide help. Some Thai NGOs have proposed legalising abortion, which they say is a women's issue, not a moral issue.

    Bangkok (AsiaNews) – It is "ironically tragic" that a mother should "want the death of her child when she should protect him as best she can," Card Michai Kitbunchu, archbishop of Bangkok, told AsiaNews after some NGOs called for the legalisation of abortion in Thailand.

    The prelate said that "Catholic doctrine strongly opposes abortion since man was made by God in His image, and blessed him above all other creature. Human life is the Father's most precious gift, valued and full of dignity."

    The proposal to legalise abortion came at a conference sponsored by Thammasat University's Faculty of Social Administration which brought together Thai NGOs to discuss abortion, "not as a moral issue, but one of human rights, an issue involving women."

    Labour leader Chitra Kochadej said that according to World Health Organisation data, "every year 200,000 women die from illegal abortions, of these 5,000 in South-East Asian countries."

    Therefore, "Thai society," she said, "should give women who are economically not ready to have a child the means to have a legal abortion."

    For Nattaya Boonpakdee, a coordinator with the 'Understanding on Women Health Foundation', "unlicensed abortion is killing many women who die at home soon after" the operation [. . . .] It is clear that the law and morality do not go hand in hand in our present society."

    Bishop George Yod Phimphisan, chairman of the Catholic Bishops' Conference of Thailand, told AsiaNews that "the Catholic Church cannot support abortion no matter what the reason. Abortion is the taking of a life which is God's precious gift to mankind. Legal abortion will make the couple take less responsibility to their lives."

    The same thing goes for Buddhists. "We, Buddhists," said Phra Mahamanoj, assistant monk in Suan Kaew Temple, "in a country where the majority of the people is Buddhist, firmly disagree with legal abortion and the destruction of life. If you do not want something to happen, don't do it".

    "At Suan Kaew Temple we have provided an 'emergency home' for those who are not ready to have a child. They do not have to go for an abortion. They will be provided with shelter and work, plus a nursery to enable them to stand on their own before returning home. There is no need to take a life"

    Buddhists constitute 95 per cent of Thailand's 62 million people. Muslims are about 4 per cent and Christians 1 per cent, including 300,000 Catholics.

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    See also

    26/03/2007 THAILAND
    Thai Church seeking greater ties among tribal groups in Thailand’s hill country
    A recent conference organised by the Thai Bishops’ Conference focused on strengthening ties, networking and increasing awareness of legal rights by tribal groups. But wider society can also learn from them how to better protect natural resources.

    08/03/2008 INDIA
    Cardinal Gracias: "women, your time has come"
    For the cardinal, India is ready for a greater role for women. But it is necessary to change an ancient mentality and to guarantee all women better health protection and education opportunities.

    21/05/2008 THAILAND – MYANMAR
    Caritas Thailand sending first aid shipment to Nargis victims
    First shipment of donations collected from various dioceses was sent off yesterday. Thailand’s COERR and the Bishops’ Conference are coordinating operations in cooperation with Burma’s bishops. Aid distribution is made difficult by the many checkpoints in the cyclone-hit area.

    17/05/2007 THAILAND
    Putting into practice the Word of the Lord in daily life
    The last four years of the Directive Pastoral Plan, which was launched in 2000, will be devoted to the Word of the Lord, Bishop George Yod Phimphisan announced. All Catholics are urged to follow the teachings of Jesus and renew their faith.

    29/07/2010 SOUTH KOREA
    Seoul, the Church celebrates the first National Congress for Life
    Two days of discussions and interventions, coordinated by the Committee for Life and the Committee for Bioethics of the Korean Bishops' Conference, to transform the "culture of death" to a "culture of life".



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