Termination of Pregnancy and Abortion in Taiwan

Information about the laws related to abortion and terminating a pregnancy in Taiwan...

Abortion has been legal in Taiwan, under certain circumstances, since 1985 when the Genetic Health Act came into effect. Taiwan was at this point still under martial law and many of the conditions that still surround abortion reflect the paternalistic society that existed at the time. The issue of individual rights for women is still a matter of concern among women's rights activists.

A woman does not have an automatic right to an abortion in Taiwan and can only get one under the following circumstances:

  • Medical reasons (pregnancy/defect issue harming either mother or child)
  • Mental health issues
  • Psychological impact
  • Rape, incest or seduction

A Taiwanese woman must obtain the consent of her husband, unless the husband is missing, unconscious or mentally ill. An unmarried woman under the age of 20 must obtain the permission of her parents, and a woman who is mentally handicapped needs the permission of a guardian.

Abortions may only be permitted in the first 24 weeks of pregnancy except to save a woman's life or preserve her physical health.

A woman who elicits an illegal abortion may be subject to up to six months' imprisonment. A person who carries out an unlawful abortion at the request of the woman may be subject to two years' imprisonment and a person who assists a woman in an illegal abortion for monetary gain is subject to imprisonment for one to five years.

The medical abortion drug Mifepristone, or RU-486, which works in the first seven weeks of pregnancy, is legal and readily available in Taiwan.

The national health insurance does not cover the cost of an abortion even in cases of rape or incest.

Further Information