Sometimes, we can get ourselves into trouble whilst travelling. Things can happen that we most certainly didn’t plan and then we need help. Becoming pregnant whilst travelling isn’t on everyone’s bucket list. It wasn’t on mine and still isn’t…but I’ve been there. It happened to me. I made the decision to have an abortion. Being a solo female traveller, in a country which isn’t my home and not having anyone with me: that’s tough. Read on for invaluable information on where to get an abortion in Asia and my personal story.
Where can I get an abortion in Asia?
I have put together your abortion options in every country in Asia. Use the search box to find your country. This resource includes countries which are considered to be a part of Asia and Europe. All information is current (October 2016) and will be updated regularly. Please note: Misoprostol and Mifepristone are 2 medicines which can be used to carry out an abortion yourself. They are listed throughout this resource as the best and safest alternative in countries where services are illegal or limited. You can find out more about these below the table.
|Country||Is abortion legal here?||Are there any exceptions?||Where can I go?|
|Afghanistan||No||Yes: to save the woman's life||www.womenonweb.org to obtain abortion pills|
|Armenia||Yes: within the first 12 weeks of pregnancy||/||You can find help here|
|Azerbaijan||Yes: within the first 12 weeks of pregnancy||/||You can find help here|
|Bahrain||Yes||/||You can find help here|
|Bangladesh||Technically no but MR is permitted up to 9 weeks of pregnancy||Yes: to save the woman's life and MR is available||You can find help here|
|Bhutan||No||Yes: in the case of rape, incest, mental health risks or to save the woman's life||www.womenonweb.org to obtain abortion pills|
|Brunei||No||Yes: to save the woman's life||www.womenonweb.org|
|Cambodia||Yes||/||You can find help here|
|China||Yes||/||You can find help here|
|Cyprus||Technically no but Misoprostol is available||Yes: in the case of rape, incest, mental health risks or to save the woman's life||You can find help here|
|Georgia||Yes||/||You can find help here|
|India||Technically yes but there are restrictions. Find out more here||Misoprostol and Mifepristone are widely available in the pharmacy||You can find help here|
|Indonesia||Technically yes but there are tight restrictions: Find out more here||Misoprostol is available||You can find help here|
|Iran||No||Yes: to save the woman's life. Misoprostol is registered here. It is available in pharmacies with a prescription.||You can find help here|
|Iraq||No||Yes: to save a woman's life. Misoprostol is registered here but very hard to get without a prescription||www.womenonweb.org to obtain abortion pills|
|Israel||Yes but you have to submit a request for approval. Find out more here.||/||You can find help here|
|Japan||Yes but there are some problems: surgical abortion procedures can be outdated / Mifepristone is not registered in Japan||Misoprostol is available in the pharmacy||You can find help here|
|Jordan||No||Yes: to save the woman's life or preserve her physical/mental health. Misoprostol is registered as Cytotec but it is difficult to get||www.womenonweb.org to obtain abortion pills|
|Kazakhstan||Yes||/||You can find help here|
|Kuwait||Technically yes but there are restrictions||Abortion is only permitted to save the life of the woman, preserve her physical/mental health or if there is foetal impairment||www.womenonweb.org to obtain abortion pills|
|Kyrgyzstan||Yes||/||You can find help here|
|Laos||No||Yes: to save the woman's life||www.womenonweb.org to obtain abortion pills|
|Lebanon||No||Yes: to save the women's life. Misoprostol is available as brand names Cytotec and Arthtotec||You can find help here|
|Malaysia||No||Yes: to save the woman's life and preserve her physical and mental health. Misoprostol is approved as 'Cyotec' but is difficult to access||www.womenonweb.org to obtain abortion pills|
|Maldives||No||Yes: only for certified medical reasons. Find out more here.||www.womenonweb.org to obtain abortion pills|
|Mongolia||Yes||/||You can find help here|
|Myanmar (Burma)||No||Yes: to save the woman's life. Misoprostol is available under the brand name Misoprost and Cytopan||www.womenonweb.org to obtain abortion pills|
|Nepal||Yes||/||You can find help here|
|North Korea||Yes||/||It has been reported that abortion is performed at provincial maternity hospitals free of charge|
|Oman||No||Yes: to save the woman's life||www.womenonweb.org to obtain abortion pills|
|Pakistan||Technically no but Misoprostol is available||Yes: to save the woman's life / preserve her physical and mental health / in case of rape. Misoprostol is registered and available under the brand names Cytopan, Miso, ST Mom®||You can find help here|
|Palestine||No: it's severely restricted||/||A private clinic may be able to help otherwise go to www.womenonweb.org to obtain abortion pills|
|Philippines||No||Yes: to save the woman's life but law does not state this explicitly. Misoprostol is registered but difficult to obtain||www.womenonweb.org to obtain abortion pills OR buy Nordette pills over the counter (take 4 within 150 hours of having sex then 4 more 12 hours after the initial dose)|
|Qatar||No||Yes: to save the woman's life / preserve her physical & mental health / for foetal impairment||www.womenonweb.org to obtain abortion pills|
|Russia||Yes||Abortion medicines Mifepristone and Misoprostol are available in the pharmacy. Brand names for mifeprostone are: gynepriston, gynestril, myfegyn, mifepristone. Brand names for misoprostol are mirolut||You can find help here|
|Saudi Arabia||No||Yes: to save the woman's life / preserve her physical & mental health||www.womenonweb.org to obtain abortion pills|
|Singapore||Yes but there are some restrictions. Find out more here.||/||You can find help here|
|South Korea||No||Yes: find out more here||Misoprostol is registered as Cytotec, Alsoben, Misel, Sintec, Gastotec, Cystol, Gastec, Cirotec, Gistol, Misoplus. You can go to www.womenonweb.org to obtain abortion pills|
|Sri Lanka||No||Yes: to save the woman's life. Misoprostol is available under the brand name Keshimiso but difficult to get||www.womenonweb.org to obtain abortion pills|
|Syria||No||Misoprostol is available in the pharmacies as cytotec||www.womenonweb.org to obtain abortion pills|
|Taiwan||Yes but there are restrictions. Find out more here.||/||You can find help here|
|Tajikistan||Yes: in the first 12 weeks||Abortion is also possible after 12 weeks: Find out more here.||Abortions are available in hospitals. Speak to a doctor.|
|Thailand||No (but there is help in Bangkok!)||Yes: in the case of rape, to preserve mental health and if there is fetal impairment. In Bangkok, abortion is available for all situations||Cabbages and Condoms|
|Timor-Leste||No||Yes: to save the life of the woman. You can get Miso (generally Pfizer Cytotec) at most pharmacies in Dili, (the capital of Timor Leste)||www.womenonweb.org to obtain abortion pills|
|Turkey||Yes: up to 10 weeks of pregnancy||Abortion services appear unreliable||www.womenonweb.org to obtain abortion pills|
|Turkmenistan||Yes: up to 12 weeks of pregnancy||From 12 - 28 weeks it is available on judicial, genetic, vital, broad medical and social grounds||Abortions are available in hospitals. Speak to a doctor.|
|United Arab Emirates||No||Yes: to save the woman's life. Misoprostol is registered under the brand names Arthrotec and Cytotec, but it is not easily available.||www.womenonweb.org to obtain abortion pills|
|Uzbekistan||Yes: up to 12 weeks||After 12 weeks abortion is possible on medical and social grounds||You can find help here|
|Vietnam||Yes||Misoprostol is under the brand names Alsoben and Misoprostol Strada. Mifespristone is available as Mifestad 200 and Nopreg pil||You can find help here|
|Yemen||No||Yes: to save the woman's life. Misoprostol is available in pharmacies under the brand name Cytotec||www.womenonweb.org to obtain abortion pills|
World Abortion Laws have made an excellent interactive map which you may find very useful.
If abortion is illegal or limited in your current country…
You can still get help. There is a good chance you can obtain two key medicines at the pharmacy: Misoprostrol (Cytotec, Arthrotec, Oxaprost, Cyprostol, Mibetec, Prostokos or Misotrol) and Mifepristone (the abortion pill, RU 486, Mifegyn, Mifeprex). Up to 12 weeks of being pregnant, taking this medicine is the most successful and safest way you can carry out an abortion yourself. Click here to find out more and gain excellent support.
What are the best abortion services in Asia?
I don’t know what I would have done without Marie Stopes. They provide a full range of quality reproductive and sexual health services. They provide access to safe abortion services where it’s legal and post abortion care.
Women on Waves
The most comprehensive, amazing website ever is Women on Waves. They have a safe online medical abortion service and abortion information for each country. They helped me immensely with this post. Women on Waves: you rock.
Women on Web
A sister organisation of women on waves is Women on Web. They are another comprehensive and amazing website which can help you get abortion pills online. It is an excellent source of support and information. Yet again: they rock.
Can I talk to anyone about having an abortion?
A time like this is incredibly difficult, regardless of whether you are sure about your decision or not. Sharing this situation with others can help you think, plan, manage and feel supported. This may be your best friend, your mother or a supportive phone call to an organisation. If you want to get in touch and talk things through, these guys can help. If you don’t want to talk, that’s totally OK too. Do what you feel is best.
My personal abortion story in Asia
I found out I could be pregnant over a bowl of noodles. I was eating with a French chick I’d met earlier that day and eagerly tucking into my second helping. As I shoved the long threads into my mouth she exclaimed, ‘Are you eating for two or something?’ Part of me thought she was super slim and I was just shamelessly eating but when I got back to my hostel that night, I realised I was late.
At the time, I was soaring through the north of Thailand on a motorbike. I wasn’t too concerned and told myself that travelling was just throwing my womb off and not to worry. A couple of days later I went to eat noodles again in another town. This time, for some reason, no one would serve me. I was the only white person there, my Thai was pretty much non-existent and people just looked right through me. I got upset. Really upset. I just cried and cried on the pavement until a local man saw me and demanded a seller feed me the noodles. What was always easy whilst travelling was suddenly getting harder.
I drove through the north for rest of the week. My back hurt. I kept switching between telling myself that it was period cramps and then that I was pregnant. I was a volatile yo-yo and began driving faster out of pure frustration and fear. I went to temples a lot. I prayed and begged like a broken record that I would be OK. Me and Buddha were good friends that week.
I finally got close to a place where I could buy a pregnancy test. I took it and the cold truth was revealed. I can’t really say how I felt. In fact, I felt nothing. I just instantly went into robot mode. I have never wanted children, I tell people that I’m too selfish to have children. I want to be travelling until I pop my clogs. It’s hard enough trying to travel with a boyfriend (if I ever meet him), let alone a child. It sounds crazy to say it but it pained me that I couldn’t take my planned flight to Myanmar: No abortion services there.
Instead, I told the father, researched my options and booked a flight to Cambodia, Siem Reap. I made an appointment with Marie Stopes and holed myself up in a hotel feeling terrible. I had to have an ultrasound and hear the nurse ‘congratulate’ me. I opted for a medical abortion as I was 3 weeks pregnant. I swallowed those pills and just waited. I had heard horror stories of the process being extremely painful but it wasn’t.
The worst part was that I just kept on going. I toured all the temples, carried on around the country for a month on a motorbike, headed to Vietnam for 3 months. I didn’t regret my decision, I was absolutely relieved but it was incredibly hard nonetheless. I would wake up and realise that I could be pregnant but wasn’t. It really hit me in Vietnam about 2 months later what had actually happened. It was eventually after a year that I couldn’t do it any more and had to go back to England for some respite.
When I did tell people what had happened, the response was unfortunately pretty negative. People couldn’t understand: ‘You must have caught something’ / ‘How could you do that to yourself?’ / ‘You’re stupid’ / ‘You weren’t careful at all’. Men particularly were not empathetic. Part of me gets it. It’s a difficult thing to respond to when someone tells you they were pregnant but decided to have an abortion. People just don’t talk about it enough. That’s why I wanted to write this post and give as much information as possible if you find yourself in a similar situation. Do what it right for you and make the most of the support that is available.
A strong word of caution
Although my abortion experience with Marie Stopes in Siem Reap, Cambodia was positive and smooth as possible, other readers have contacted me with different experiences: some highly traumatic. This resource is here to let you know what services are available, but this does not guarantee everything will go well.
Please understand that having an abortion can be incredibly difficult physically as well as mentally; especially in the wrong hands.
One reader contacted me to say that she had to undergo an emergency medical abortion with no anesthetic in Siem Reap. All that was available was ibuprofen: clearly a very traumatic and distressing experience.
Another lady shared her traumatic experience with me at Cabbages and Condoms in Bangkok. She reported that the standards were unhygienic, the anesthesia was inappropriate and the care during and after was highly distressing and unprofessional.
Please try to take care of yourself as much as you can in this situation.
Update on my abortion in Asia
Firstly, I want to thank everyone for your comments and support. It is very much appreciated – even if you disagree with me. This resource is visited and accessed every day by men and women from many different countries. I hope it is providing you with valuable information and support and that you find the answers you came here looking for.
The Daily Mail, News.com.au, Matador and Huffpost kindly asked me to speak more about my abortion in Asia. If you’re interested in finding out even more about it and what I have to say, make sure to check out the articles.
I also want to thank Marie Stopes Cambodia again for everything they did for me. You can email them at firstname.lastname@example.org or contact them on +85512 999 002 / +855 98 999 102.
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