(Thailand). On 28 January 2021, the Provincial Sr. Nipha Rangabpit, Sr. Pornphirun Chandenduang, and Sr. Imelda Barattino attended the seminar on the topic of abortion and the Catholic position, articles 301-305 of the Constitutional Law of the Thai Nation at the headquarters of the Bishops’ Conference Thai, with the participation of the laity in online mode.
It was organized by the five commissions of the Episcopal Conference: Caritas THA of which the Camillian Fr. Pairat Sriprasert is the secretary for Social Communication; Social Development for Women; Bishops Federation; Superiors and Major Superiors of Religious Congregations; Priests in Thailand; and the Women’s Commission of the Archdiocese of Bangkok. The purpose of the seminar is to reflect on government policies on the proposed topic in comparison with the position of the Church and ethical principles.
It was attended by representatives of 5 Religious Congregations: Congregation of the Sacred Heart of Jesus; St. Paul De Chartres; the Good Shepherd; the Ministers of the Sick or Camillians; and the Daughters of Mary Help of Christians. The role played by the religious and the government is important in designing operational guidelines for raising awareness and knowledge of women on abortion.
The Bishop of the Diocese of Ubon Ratchani, Msgr. Philip Banchong Chaiyara, President of Caritas THA, presided over the meeting. Fr. Suthep Vanaphongthipakorn, Secretary General of the Economic and Legal Consultative Commission of the Thai Bishops’ Conference, and Fr. Cherdchai Lertjitlekha, Director of the Camillian Hospital, presented the theme “The Catholic Church’s vision regarding fertilization, contraception, and abortion”.
Sister Anurak Chaiyaphuek of the Sisters of the Good Shepherd, Superior of the Wildflower House, Chiang Mai (for assistance to mothers and children), developed the theme “Support for society in the face of problems”.
On 17 November 2020, the amendment to the “Bill concerning the Criminal Code in Articles 301 and 305: the crime of spontaneous abortion or ‘abortion’ was approved.
The Catholic Church recognizes the importance of human life and promotes respect for its dignity and its fundamental values from birth in the womb until natural death. The faith of Christians recognizes the fundamental right of human existence, and that life is a precious gift. This truth is upheld by all people of good will.
The Catholic Church asks for respect for human dignity by considering it as a moral principle proper to the “natural law” that God has inscribed in the hearts of all human beings; for this reason all human beings have equal access to this truth.
This is a journey undertaken with great commitment at the national level, in the light of what is reaffirmed in the Encyclical Evangelium vitae by John Paul II, published on 25 March 1995: “This Encyclical, the fruit of the collaboration of the Episcopate of each country of world, wants to be a precise and firm reaffirmation of the value of human life and its inviolability, and at the same time, a passionate appeal to each and every one, in the name of God: respect, defend, love, and serve life, every human life!”
The commitment, therefore, is to give this world new signs of hope, working to increase justice and solidarity and to affirm a new culture of human life, for the building of an authentic civilization of truth and love.