Kathy Pan, sticks and pummelling: Techniques used to induce abortion by Burmese women on the Thai border

Suzanne Belton, Andrea Whittaker

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

25 Citations (Scopus)


Forced migrants face particular reproductive health problems. Migrant Burmese women in Thailand often need to work to support themselves and their families, and mistimed and unwanted pregnancies are a common problem. They have limited access to culturally appropriate reproductive health services and no access to safe elective abortion. They are at risk of deportation or at least harassment by Thai authorities if they travel. They use traditional methods such as herbal medicines, and employ lay midwives to provide pummelling and stick abortions to end their pregnancies. This ethnographic study used various methods to collect data over 10 months in Tak Province, Thailand. The authors describe the women's motives and means of ending their pregnancies and some of the difficulties in obtaining reliable modern methods of contraception. This study highlights the need for reproductive health care for displaced populations.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1512-1523
Number of pages12
JournalSocial Science and Medicine
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - 1 Oct 2007


  • Burma
  • Forced migration
  • Myanmar
  • Refugee
  • Reproduction
  • Thailand
  • Unsafe abortion

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