Knowledge and Opinions among Royal Thai Police Cadets about Abortion Laws
Introduction: Unsafe abortion is a major social and public health problem which may result in maternal death and disability. The Thai criminal law states that abortion is legal when it is performed by a physician and for indications of maternal health or for cases of pregnancy from criminal acts such as rape. Criminal induced abortion still prevails in the Thai society. Police cadets attended study classes on the criminal laws in every academic year and should have knowledge and understand Thai abortion laws.
Objective: To study level of knowledge of the Royal Thai Police Cadets and their opinions about Thai abortion laws.
Method: This cross-sectional study included 187 of 4th year police cadets at the Royal Thai Police Cadets Academy in Samphran District, Nakorn Pathom Province. The data was collected from self-administrated questionnaires on the knowledge of pregnancy, abortion and opinions about abortion laws. Data analysis was done by descriptive statistics using frequency, percentage, means and standard deviations. Analytical statistics were Chi- squared test with the significant level at p<0.05.
Results: Most of the Royal Police Cadets (75.4%) were male with mean age of 22.61± 2.16 years old. Almost all (98.9%) were Buddhists. 51.3% were born in the central part of Thailand. 60.5% had good knowledge about pregnancy and abortion and 77.5% had fair knowledge about the abortion laws. Most of them (82.9%) thought that the present abortion laws were inappropriate for the Thai society and 73.8% agreed with the amendment. Most of them thought that indications of fetal anomalies (78.1%) and pregnancy from incest (58.8%) should be included in the amended law.
Conclusion: The Royal Thai Police Cadets had a good knowledge about pregnancy and abortion, and had fair knowledge about Thai abortion laws. Most of them had the opinion that the present abortion laws were inappropriate for Thai society and should be amended especially about the indication of fetal anomalies.