May 24, 2015

Tinjauan Islam Memandang Aborsi

Ditulis kembali Oleh Tia Setiyani

Sebuah tulisan yang menarik coba ditawarkan oleh Ahli Fiqh Faqihuddin Abdul Kodir, yakni dengan memaknai teks-teks dan pandangan-pandangan ulama dalam hal aborsi. , Islam pada dasarnya melarang aborsi adalah sesuatu yang dipaksakan. Menurut Faqih, Islam atau lebih tepatnya fiqh telah membiarkan teks-teks tentang aborsi terbuka untuk diperdebatkan. Jika pada masa lalu saja, mereka membuka perbedaan dan perdebatan seputar aborsi, maka pada sekarang perdebatan itu juga harus diteruskan untuk menemukan pandangan yang lebih tepat dengan konteks kita saat ini.

Ayat-ayat al-Qur’an yang biasa digunakan para penulis dalam membicarakan persoalan aborsi adalah ayat-ayat yang tidak langsung, karena yang eksplisit melarang atau membolehkan aborsi sebenarnya memang tidak pernah disebutkan di dalam al-Qur’an itu sendiri.


Ayat-ayat yang tidak langsung yang dimaksud kebanyakan berisi tentang penghormatan manusia, penciptaan dan proses perkembangan janin serta larangan membunuh anak seperti (Qs. Al-Isra, 17:70), (Qs. Al-An’am, 6:151), (Qs. Al-Isra, 17; 31), (Qs. Al-Hajj, 22:5), (Qs. Al-Mu’minun, 23: 12-14) dll.

Sebenarnya masih sulit untuk menyatakan dengan tegas bahwa al-Qur’an telah membicarakan persoalan aborsi dan mengharamkannya. Beberapa sisi memang aborsi disamakan dengan pembunuhan yang diharamkan, tetapi dari sisi-sisi lain tidak bisa disamakan begitu saja. Contohnya pemaknaan kandungan yang masih diperdebatkan kapan ia mulai memiliki nyawa. Berbeda jelas pada obyek pembunuhan yakni manusia yang jelas-jelas bernyawa. 


Aborsi dalam Perdebatan Ulama Fiqh

Perbedaan pendapat sudah dimulai dari menyamakan aborsi dengan ‘azl atau senggama terputus. Seperti yang diceritakan Imam Muhammad bin Isma’il ash-Sha’ani (1059-1182H) : ‘azl pun ada yang membolehkan dan ada yang mengharamkan. (Subulussalam, 3/146). 


Muhammad Syaltut dari ulama kontemporer misalnya menceritakan bahwa ulama fiqh sepakat menyatakan haram terhadap aborsi paska peniupan ruh kecuali jika kehamilan itu mengancam kehidupan ibu yang mengandung. Tetapi terhadap aborsi pra-peniupan, ulama fiqh berbeda pendapat (al-Fatwa, 289-292).


Syekh Jadul Haq lebih rinci lagi menjelaskan pernyataan beberapa madzhab fiqh dalam aborsi . Madzhab Hanafi aborsi sebelum kandungan umur 120 hari secara umum diperbolehkan jika ada alasan yang sah;memelihara air susu agar tetap mengalir bagi bayi yang sedang disusui, kekhawatiran pada kesehatan ibu karena hamil, atau kesulitan medis yang harus dialami sata melahirkan.


Sementara mayoritas ulama madzhab Malikiyah melarang aborsi sekalipun kandungan belum berumur 40 hari, karena menurut mereka proses kehidupan telah dimulai sejak pertemuan sperma dengan ovum. Proses ini dimuliakan. Sedang, Ibn Hajar membolehkan aborsi sebelum kandungan berumur 42 hari, sementara Muhammad bin Abu Sa’id mengizinkan selama belum mencapai umur kandungan 80 hari. Madzhab Zaydi memperkenalkan aborsi sebelum kandungan berumur 120 hari, karena dianggap sama persis dengan ‘azl (senggama terputus) yang memang diperkenankan. 


Pada makalah ‘Telaah Kritis terhadap Fakta Aborsi Perspektif Fiqh Kontemporer, menguraikan apakah pengguguran kandungan dibolehkan? “Ya, selama belum terjadi penciptaan, dan itu baru terjadi berusia 120 hari” (Husein Muhammad). Dalam semangat yang hampir sama, Sayyid Sabiq menyatakan bahwa pengguguran kandungan sebelum berumur 120 hari bisa dilakukan dengan alasan yang tepat, jika tanpa alasan maka hukumnya makruh saja. (Fiqh as-Sunnah, 2/177-178).


Intinya, bagi kelompok yang mengharamkan, memandang bahwa konsepsi adalah proses awal dari kehidupan manusia,yang harus dihormati. Namun, dalam pernyataan Imam al-Ghazali (w. 505 H) misalnya, aborsi sangat berbeda dengan ‘azl. Karena aborsi adalah tindakan pidana terhadap sesuatu yang telah ada dan berproses untuk memulai kehidupan (mawhudun hashil). Sementara ‘azl hanya sekadar pemutusan sebelum terjadinya konsepsi sebagai awal dari proses kehidupan. 


Perspektif Perempuan

Berbagai tulisan, buku, diskusi banyak memperbincangkan persoalan aborsi di Indonesia -dimulai dari persoalan legalitas hukum, moral, dan atau agama – yang belum dilakukan adalah penggunaan ‘perspektif perempuan’ sebagai kerangka berfikir utama.


Umar bin Khattab ra suatu saat menyatakan; “Dulu kami pada masa Jahiliyah sama sekali tidak memperhitungkan kaum perempuan, kemudian ketika datang Islam dan Allah Swt menyebutkan mereka di dalam kitab-Nya, kamu tahu bahwa mereka juga memiliki hak terhadap kami, tetapi kami masih enggan menyertakan mereka dalam urusan-urusan kami”. (Hadits Bukhari, kitab 77/bab 31, no. 5843). Ini menjadi gambaran realitas sosial-budaya yang memarjinalkan perempuan, termasuk pada masyarakat muslim sendiri. Sehingga Nabi Muhammad Saw, menjelang akhir hayatnya beliau , pada saat haji wada’ menyampaikan pesan ke hadapan ribuan sahabat; “Aku wasiatkan kepada kalian, agar berbuat baik kepada perempuan, karena mereka sering menjadi sasaran pelecehan di antara kalian. Padahal, kalian berkewajiban untuk berbuat baik kepada mereka,” (Hadits Turmudzi no. 1163 dan Ibn Majah 1851)


Pernyataan Nabi Muhammad saw ini merupakan peneguhan terhadap dua hal; bahwa realitas sosial dalam banyak hal sering tidak bersahabat terhadap perempuan , dan ini bertentangan dengan misi Islam itu sendiri.

Dalam kaitannya dengan persoalan aborsi misalnya, realitas sosial sampai saat ini masih menyudutkan perempuan, bahkan membahayakan dan mengancam jiwa mereka. Dalam hal aborsi, baik pandangan keagamaan, perilaku budaya, kebijakan pemerintah maupun tatanan hukum dan sosial, semua mengarah kepada perempuan dan menjadikan mereka korban-korban stigma dan praktik aborsi, baik secara fisik dan juga mental, baik aborsi yang aman apalagi yang tidak aman. 


Fakta yang seharusnya bisa dilihat secara murni menjadi sebuah pertimbangan; WHO mencatat 15-50 % kematian ibu disebabkan aborsi yang tidak aman. Dari tiap 20 juta pengguguran kandungan yang terjadi di dunia setiap tahunnya, ditemukan 70.000 perempuan meninggal dunia karena praktik aborsi tidak aman. Angka ini termasuk tinggi dibanding negara-negara lain di Asia Tenggara.


*sumber ; Makalah “Penghentian Kehamilan (yang Tidak Dikehendaki) Secara Tidak Aman) ; Tinjauan Islam oleh Faqihuddin Abdul Kodir, dalam sebuah Workshop mengenai kesehatan reproduksi, 21 Agustus 2003 di Yogyakarta. Faqihuddin Abdul Kodir MA merupakan Direktur Fahmina Institute. Beliau adalah dosen STAIN Cirebon dan alumnus fakultas Syariah Universitas Damaskus, Suriah.



Sumber : Samsara News

May 01, 2015

Bad Law creates Bad Business


When access to safe abortions are blocked by restrictive laws, black markets exploit women in a time of need and desperation; Inna Hudaya,founder of Samsara, writes from Indonesia.


Criminalization of abortion does not stop women from seeking safe abortion services. Any woman can experience an unplanned pregnancy, even one who uses contraception; and therefore the need for safe abortion services continues to exist, even if contraceptive use increases. As economic theories highlight, where there is need there is business, and this often leads to the exploitation of desperate women

Women who have unplanned pregnancies and are not all accommodated in The Health Bill interpretation, attempt to seek safe abortion services elsewhere. The needs of these women are therefore met with by the private sector, which is often safe but every expensive. Only women with money and those who have access to information can find these services.

Here are case studies highlighting the difficulty patients experience in accessing information.

Rani, 25, was repeatedly deceived by drug sellers on the Internet while trying to get Misoprostol for safe abortion. She transferred the money but the package never arrived. She tried another one with the same result. It was impossible for her to report it to the police without endangering herself. Instead of investigating the fraud, the police would have investigated her motives to end her pregnancy.

Finally, in a state of bankruptcy and desperation, Rani contacted Samsara’s safe abortion hotline to get advice on access to safe abortion services.

Sasha, 22 and unmarried, had to go through a difficult process to seek access for safe abortion. She found a doctor willing to do an abortion combining a method of induction with D&C but at a total cost of 13 million IDR (1369 USD). Because she could not afford the entire cost, and so the doctor performed the induction, but not the D&C. It caused spotting, but did not terminate her pregnancy. She finally found the hotline, and called the counsellor for further treatment.

Mita, 30, was a victim of domestic violence. When she demanded a divorce from her husband, he raped her, and this this caused a pregnancy. As a pregnant woman, she would have to cancel her divorce process, and enter a waiting periode. She desperately needed access to safe abortion without the consent and acknowledgement of her husband.

Sasha, Rani and Mita are those who are not protected in the Health Bill. Because of their desperation, they become victims for underground or over-pricedbusinesses to exploit. There are several women like them, who have experienced violence and discrimination when seeking safe abortion services. Many other woman have become victims of unsafe abortions, which result in death or severe complications.

Abortion is a major public health issue, and a women’s rights issue. Women should have access to it like to any other safe and necessary medical procedure without stigma, discrimination and restriction. Instead ill-defined laws and the lack of regulation have turned the ‘service’ into a business. When abortion becomes a business without clear regulations, then the female body become a battle ground. It is bad law that creates bad business.


Inna Hudaya is the founder and director of Samsara, and the author and owner of www.askinna.com. She works as a senior counsellor at Samsara, and provides pre- and post-abortion counseling, and promotes access to information on safe abortions.

Samsara promotes sexuality education by providing access to accurate information on reproductive health and choices. Samsara has a safe abortion hotline, and provides a platform for young women and men to discuss sex, sexuality, abortion and other reproductive health issues in an amoral environment.


Taken from ASAP Blog.

February 13, 2015

Unspoken Violence on Abortion, a Case Study of Indonesia

By : Inna Hudaya & Zulkamal Hidaayat Zakaria

Introduction
Most people in Indonesia has been viewing abortion as an immoral action because it against the positive norms of society. As some countries did, Indonesia preserves cultural and religious based principles which support a banning on abortion. For sure, abortion is illegal in Indonesia. Unfortunately, the government seems unaware of the side effect of such policy and fails to communicate majority and minority interests which are involved. Majority is people who support government policy on banning abortion and minority is people who against government policy on banning abortion. In this setting, the government and society also failed to identify women as a victim of the government policy. This policy has disposed women who commit abortion as criminals. Those women have been dealing with people who can’t accept abortion although it is associated with women authority over their body and future. As a result, women are more vulnerable to violence because the policy has labeled women who commit abortion as criminal instead of victim.

Criminalization of Abortion
The important point in understanding abortion issue in Indonesia is to recognize that it is illegal but it can be done for some specific reasons. Abortion is illegal but it can be done if the pregnancy will jeopardize the mother or fetus and if the pregnancy is caused by rape. This abortion can be taken before the gestational age of six weeks unless to save mother’s life. Even if it is possible to have an abortion until 6 weeks of gestational age, women still do not have authority over their own decision. For instance, married woman needs consent from her husband and unmarried woman needs a parental consent. In case of rape, the parental consent needs to be given with the approval statement from psychologist or psychiatrist.

Based on the Health National Law No 36/2009, the penalties were 10 years imprisonment or a fine of 1 billion IDR for anyone who had induced abortion. In fact, due to the restricted access on sex education, reproductive health and health service especially contraception, women are more vulnerable to unwanted pregnancy that leads to the need of safe abortion.

Women who are young, unmarried, less educated, poor and living in rural area, are the most vulnerable groups and severely affected while dealing with unplanned pregnancy. At this point, unsafe abortion is the available and accessible option for them. On the other hand, the criminalization of abortion did not impact only on the number of unsafe abortion and maternal mortality but it had created many kinds of violence toward women’s rights. This policy has provided an open chance for industry of abortion to develop. Most of abortion clinics in such industry are illegal, especially in Java Island. Those clinics provide abortion services for women without the considering the rights of patients. Women were taking for granted in this situation. Moreover, many drug dealers used to cheat on women who could not report it to the police because abortion is illegal. Frankly, the circumstance has been creating many forms of violence and problem toward the issue of abortion to grow.

Based on the facts above, criminalization of abortion is violation against women rights instead of solution. The government policy was not only possessing women as an object of violence but it was also letting people to take advantage on the situation of women itself. It is hypocrisy of nation who they believe that abortion is sin and create other forms of sin which is violating women rights.

Criminalization of abortion is not a proper way to reduce the number of abortion. On the contrary, this policy made violence toward women remain unspoken. The only way to reduce the number of abortion is by giving sex education and reproductive health and an open access to health services so women will have a control over their sexual and reproductive life that will protect them from unwanted pregnancy.

SAMSARA Project for Change: Reclaiming Access to Safe Abortion
While the government and society failed to identify women as victim from the ongoing policy, women died and suffered from complications caused by unsafe abortion. There’s no time to wait any longer for the government to take action in saving women’s live. Saving the life of women doesn’t always mean to save women from severe complications, traumas, depressions and maternal deaths. Life also means the quality of women’s living condition which includes access to education, health, economy and bargaining position. Based on the situation in Indonesia, the most important thing is a real programs and strategies that will help women to access safe abortion services and create a supportive network in society to reduce stigma and discrimination. In the future, the social changes are expected to decriminalize abortion in Indonesia.

SAMSARA, an organization based in Yogyakarta has been working to promote the reproductive health, sexuality, gender, spirituality, culture and human rights on abortion issues. SAMSARA also provides access to education, information and counseling on abortion based on sexuality and reproductive health and rights. Through its work, SAMSARA has found an urgent need to inform and empower women so they have sufficient knowledge and support to choose and access a safe abortion. We believe that changes are indisputably needed, not only by supporting and empowering the women but also taking a pro active part in providing education to people; influencing social movements; expanding discourses and strengthening a supportive network.

Since 2008, we started a program called Safe Abortion Hotline where we assist women in making decision and finding a safe clinic for abortion. Actually, women should find the clinic of abortion by themselves. Our main job in this program is to provide advice to women to recognize a reliable abortion clinic, affordable, meets the medical standard and avoid them getting deceived by service provider. Mostly, women have to go through the process by themselves without any companion. In this situation, the hotline is available to assist women in the process.

In 2011, we integrated a Medical Abortion into the hotline program. The hotline promotes the use of Misoprostol which is one of recognized method in medical abortion as an alternative option for safe abortion until 9 weeks pregnancy. Hotline is assisting women in making decision, provide information and open access to safe abortion. In this hotline program, women need to confirm their decision before the hotline counselors refer them to service provider or assist them to have abortion at home. It is necessary to ensure that abortion is the decision of the women, not the decision of her partner or family.

If the women can access clinic, hotline will refer women to have surgical abortion. But most women can’t access a clinic because of the distance and price. Most women choose medical abortion. Once women get the pills, a counselor will be available by phone to assist women when women have abortion at home. Usually counselor will ask women to make notes about the process so all information will be helpful for following up the consultation process. Follow up consultation is needed to ensure that the abortion is completed. Hotline also works on the improvement of its service to help women in every step so they won’t face abortion by themselves when it is being taken.

Between May 2011 to May 2012 we received 1.425 calls, emails and face to face session. 71,1 % of the clients are unmarried women. SAMSARA considers Medical Abortion as an ultimate option for safe abortion in a restricted setting like Indonesia. Medical Abortion is not only cheaper, but it also protects the privacy of the women, gives full control and authority to the women and encourages women to focus and care over their body.

Safe Abortion Hotline is an action in reclaiming access to safe abortion. Since our government failed in respect, fulfill and protect women life, it is a time for civil society to act. The absence of real actions to change the circumstance will remain the unending violence on abortion for women. We can’t rely on government to saves women in crisis. Only by listening, supporting and working together, with or without government assistance, we can save women life. The choice is ours, whether to let the unspoken violence to continue or to change the unjust to a just world.

October 20, 2014

Kenapa harus Follow Up setelah aborsi?


Kenapa sih harus ribet banget pake follow up setelah aborsi dengan obat?
Nah, di artikel sebelumnya kamu sudah tahu bahwa meskipun aborsi sudah berhasil namun belum tentu aborsi tersebut komplit. Untuk memastikan bahwa aborsi komplit inilah makanya follow up menjadi penting.

Jika kamu aborsi dengan operasi kecil atau yang biasa kita sebut sebagai surgical abortion, biasanya dokter akan meminta kamu kembali untuk melakukan check up dua minggu setelah aborsi. Saat check up ini dokter akan memastikan apakah semua produk konsepsi sudah keluar atau belum. Jika sudah keluar semua, maka bisa dipastikan aborsi sudah komplit. Namun jika belum, itu artinya masih ada jaringan yang tertinggal dan perlu dikeluarkan. Sisa jaringan yang tertinggal bisa dikeluarkan dengan kuret atau cukup dengan dosis tambahan misoprostol, tergantung ukurannya seberapa besar.

August 11, 2014

Do It Yourself (DIY) Abortion

Aborsi sendiri?
Memangnya aman?
Itu pertanyaan yang paling sering ditanyakan dan juga ditakutkan oleh perempuan yang mengalami kehamilan tidak direncanakan dan sedang mencari informasi untuk aborsi.

Apakah aborsi sendiri aman? Ya, aborsi yang dilakukan dengan misoprostol aman dilakukan di rumah. Hanya dengan 12 pil misoprostol, perempuan bisa melakukan aborsi aman sampai usia kehamilan 13 minggu. Dosis ini adalah dosis yang direkomendasikan oleh WHO di dalam panduan teknis untuk aborsi aman edisi ke-2 pada tahun 2013. Gak percaya? cek dan baca sendiri disini.

Maksudnya Do It Yourself di sini bukan berarti kamu melakukan aborsi sendirian. Maksudnya adalah kamu (baca:perempuan) sendiri yang memutuskan dan menentukan proses aborsimu, tanpa perlu bantuan Dokter atau tenaga medis. Kamu bisa lakukan di rumahmu, tanpa harus datang ke klinik. Saat aborsi kamu tetap harus didampingi oleh seseorang yang kamu percayai, untuk memastikan jika tanda-tanda komplikasi muncul bisa segera dibawa ke rumah sakit terdekat. Tapi kemungkinan komplikasi ini sangat kecil sekali, hanya sekitar 2% saja.

January 22, 2014

Mengakses hotline secara efektif

Apakah anda pernah menghubungi hotline dan merasa prosedur hotline sangat ribet? Atau anda jengkel karena bukannya langsung memberitahu dimana bisa membeli obat, konselor justru banyak tanya ini itu?

Hotline Samsara adalah hotline yang didekasikan untuk pemenuhan hak-hak perempuan atas kesehatan reproduksi termasuk informasi aborsi aman. Setiap konselor mendapatkan pelatihan dan mentoring untuk memastikan bahwa layanan hotline tidak hanya memberikan informasi, namun juga memastikan bahwa informasi yang diberikan tepat guna dengan kondisi kesehatan perempuan.
Setiap perempuan memiliki tubuh yang unik, setiap perempuan memiliki riwayat dan kondisi kesehatan yang berbeda-beda. Itu sebabnya penting bagi konselor untuk mengetahui informasi dasar mengenai kesehatan anda sebelum memberikan informasi yang anda butuhkan.
Kami memahami bahwa dalam situasi KTD kebanyakan perempuan merasa bingung dan ingin cepat-cepat menemukan solusi mereka. Namun sebagai konselor, tugas kami adalah memastikan setiap perempuan yang mengakses layanan kami mendapat dukungan yang tepat. Seringkali dalam keadaan bingung, perempuan terburu-buru membuat keputusan dan mengakses layanan aborsi aman. Hal ini pula yang seringkali membuat perempuan tertipu oleh penjual obat, tidak berhati-hati dalam memilih layanan dan mengalami kegagalan aborsi baik karena obatnya palsu atau karena riwayat medis yang mempengaruhi efektifitas obat.

July 19, 2013

Bagaimana mengetahui apakah aborsi berhasil atau tidak?

Jika anda melakukan aborsi secara mandiri, seringkali anda merasa khawatir dan ragu apakah aborsi sudah berhasil atau belum. Dalam situasi ini anda merasa bingung dan serba salah. Untuk memastikan apakah aborsi berhasil atau tidak adalah dengan melakukan pemeriksaan ke dokter dan melakukan tes ultrasound. Namun seringkali anda merasa khawatir jika dokter mengetahui anda telah melakukan aborsi.

Jika anda ingin mengetahui apakah proses aborsi sudah berhasil atau belum, anda bisa melakukan konsultasi dengan menghubungi nomor hotline. Konselor akan membantu menganalisa apakah aborsi yang anda lakukan berhasil atau tidak. Pastikan anda memberikan informasi yang akurat agar konselor dapat melakukan analisis dan rekomendasi yang tepat. Tim Ask Inna akan mengirimkan hasil analisisnya melalui email paling lambat 2 x 24 jam.

Pasangan saya baru aborsi, apa yang harus saya lakukan?

Aborsi merupakan salah satu intervensi kesehatan yang aman bagi kesehatan perempuan. Namun, karena kurangnya informasi yang relevan dan dukungan dari petugas medis, seringkali perempuan dan pasangan menjadi panik setelah aborsi. Biasanya kepanikan ini berhubungan dengan kekhawatiran adanya komplikasi, infeksi atau resiko kesehatan jangka panjang.

Setelah aborsi, pasangan anda masuk masa follow up atau observasi. Dalam masa observasi ini, dokter atau konselor akan mengidentifikasi tanda-tanda klinis dan non-klinis. Namun, tanpa bantuan dokter atau konselor, anda dan pasangan dapat secara mandiri mengidentifikasi tanda-tanda tersebut.

July 10, 2013

Apakah saya mengalami stress pasca aborsi?

Apakah anda merasa stress setelah aborsi? bagaimana mengenali emosi anda dan memahaminya? berikut beberapa artikel yang perlu anda baca untuk membantu anda dan pasangan melalui situasi ini.


Mengenali emosi anda :
Kemarahan
Kegelisahan
Numbness
Gangguan Tidur
Ganguan Seksual

Memahami emosi anda :
Memahami Rasa Bersalah
Memaafkan Diri Sendiri
Memaafkan Orang Lain
Mengatasi Kegelisahan
Membangun Harga Diri
Mengatasi Numbness
Mengatasi Mimpi Buruk
Memperbaiki Relasi
Musuh Perusak Dalam Diri Anda
Crying is Healing

Untuk Pasangan :
Pasangan anda stress?
Bagaimana mendukung pasangan anda?
Lelaki dan Aborsi

Konseling & Support Group :
Konseling dan Konflik Internal
Program Pemulihan
Tahapan Pemulihan
Pentingnya Komunitas Pendukung

June 24, 2013

‘Medical abortion is revolutionary’: Samsara’s Inna Hudaya on abortion access in Indonesia

This article was published in Medical Abortion Matters (May 2013)

In 2008, Inna Hudaya helped found Samsara, an organization in Indonesia dedicated to promoting sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR) education and information, including safe abortion. One of Samsara’s main programs is a national safe abortion hotline.

In a recent interview, Hudaya explained the hotline previously focused on helping women find safe abortion providers, but the increasing availability of misoprostol has revolutionized how she and her colleagues assist women.




Why did you decide to start Samsara and what is its mission?

Hudaya: I had an unplanned pregnancy 10 years ago. I was young, lacked information about safe sex, had no access to contraception and no support in deciding anything about my sexual and reproductive health choices. Without understanding my choices and the consequences, I decided to have an abortion when I was six weeks pregnant. I wish I had reliable information and support—then I wouldn’t have had to deal with unnecessary depression afterward. I was emotionally, financially and socially bankrupted by fear and stigma.


That’s why I decided to start Samsara. Originally it started as a blog where I published my abortion story and translated many articles about abortion into Bahasa Indonesia, the national language. I wanted to make sure that women have enough reliable information to make informed decisions. In less than a year, I had received many emails from women in Indonesia who experienced the same situation I did; that’s how Samsara grew. The mission is to provide reliable information and support for women with unplanned pregnancies and for women who have had abortions. We also strive to bring the “A word” into public discussion. For us, sharing is empowering, and the personal is political.

Editor’s note: To see Hudaya tell the story of how she founded Samsara, watch this video.


What is the legal situation regarding abortion in Indonesia? Do you have any problems with the law when Samsara offers counseling about abortion?


Abortion is illegal except to save the life of the woman, and in cases of fetal impairment or rape. But even though abortion is legally restricted, it is actually very common in Indonesia. So far we have had no problems with the law, probably because Indonesia’s government doesn’t consider sexual and reproductive health an important issue—they just don’t care about it.


Where and how does your hotline operate?


It’s national, so we operate all over Indonesia. And we sometimes also receive emails and calls from Southeast Asia—places like Malaysia, the Philippines, Thailand and India. We offer counseling, and the phone hotline is one of the media we use, but we also have a website with an online form women can fill out and submit to us. In addition, women can email us or come visit our office if they live in our city. We respond to emails 24 hours a day, but the hotline is open Monday to Friday.


More than 80 percent of our callers find out about us on the Internet, so when we started the hotline we did not do much promotion—we only used social media for dissemination. I started my blog in 2007 because there’s not enough reliable information in Bahasa Indonesia (our language) on the Internet. But if you Google “abortion” in Bahasa, there are so many search results. In the last few years, my goal has been for Samsara to show up in the first page of Google search results—which it now does. It’s quite interesting because from 2007-2009 we found that most women found us by searching the keyword “abortion,” but since 2009, most people find us with the search terms “safe abortion” or “where to find safe abortion.”


How does Samsara incorporate medical abortion (MA) into its work?


Samsara’s hotline started in 2008. At that time we helped women access surgical abortion by mapping out the clinics that would provide abortions, advising on how to deal with doctors and how not to get cheated, etc. The biggest challenge was that only if you are educated, rich and live in a big city can you access those clinics easily. It breaks my heart that most women have had to go through discrimination and violence to access safe abortion.


We integrated MA into the hotline in 2011. We were in contact with Women on Web, and they came to Indonesia and gave us training on medical abortion, so that’s how we got started. And I would say that MA is revolutionary. It has had a big impact for women in general and for Samsara specifically. Now we receive fewer stories from our clients about how they went through discrimination and violence to access abortion. With MA, women become the doctor for themselves; they can do it at home safely and fully have control over it.


For a country like Indonesia, where most women aren’t well informed about their health and bodies, MA also educates women to be more aware of the changes and signs in their bodies during and after the abortion. For most clients, this experience is a starting point from which they begin to exercise knowledge about their own bodies.


Does MA now comprise the majority of your counseling?


Yes, it’s mostly medical abortion now. Most women with unplanned pregnancies who contact us are unmarried and have mid- to lower-level incomes, so they don’t have access to contraception and that’s why they’re facing unwanted pregnancy. That’s also why most of them choose medical abortion—it’s cheaper. Privacy is also a factor. In a country where abortion is legally restricted, privacy and security are the most needed.


How do you advise women to access MA in Indonesia?


Women can access misoprostol in pharmacies as a medicine for gastric ulcers. Usually it’s easier to access in small cities and drug stores as opposed to big cities and big pharmacies. Misoprostol is also available over the Internet, but this is risky. Many women report they get cheated; they send money but the medicine never arrives, or the medicine arrives but has no effect.


We tell women the highest price that is acceptable for a seller to charge; we also tell women the name of the brands to ask for. One barrier is that if you go to a pharmacy and say you need misoprostol for a gastric ulcer, the maximum amount they will give you is three or four pills, so women have to find at least three pharmacies and get four pills from each pharmacy—or use the same pharmacy but first the woman visits, then maybe her boyfriend, and then perhaps a friend. So it’s quite tricky.


Another problem is medical abortion protocol. Many drug sellers on the Internet do not provide women with the right protocol. And for doctors, many of them give women only enough misoprostol to start a miscarriage so the women will come back to them and pay more for a uterine evacuation. It’s legal for the doctor to do this because abortion is legal if the woman presents with a miscarriage. So doctors know how to use medical abortion, they just don’t want to give the right protocol.


The availability of misoprostol helps women access safe abortion, but reliable information and counseling take an important role in ensuring that women know how to do it by themselves. In my opinion, the definition of safe abortion needs to be changed: It’s the combination of a woman’s choice, reliable information and medical treatment only if needed.


Can you explain further what you mean when you say the definition of safe abortion needs to be changed?


Before I always thought that safe abortion is like everyone says: performed by a doctor in a clinic, and then it’s safe. But our experience shows that it’s safe for women to do it themselves as long as they have reliable information. Sometimes, even if a woman goes to the doctor, he or she will not give you any information about what is happening in your body. So for me, with medical abortion, you give back this authority to the hands of women. They can become the doctor for themselves as long as they have the information, the right protocol, and knowledge of normal side effects and when to seek medical treatment. Women are very smart, strong and capable of doing this. If they don’t need medical treatment, why should they pay for it?


In the future, what do you hope Samsara will accomplish?


I wish to see more women able to access our hotline. Our biggest challenge is to reach more women in rural areas who do not have access to the Internet.


I also want to see Samsara be a model for MA hotlines. Working on an abortion hotline is not easy, and people who do this work are at risk of burning out. It takes hard work and guts to do it. But it’s very powerful because hotlines can reach the grassroots. Therefore, I want to create a system that can help hotlines work more effectively and efficiently and place fewer burdens on the counselors.


I’m working now on the concept of a hotline model that includes how to manage resources and how hotlines can work more efficiently and effectively within a tight budget, and hopefully this can be helpful for other hotlines. We have shown the world that funding and resources are not limitations when you really believe in something. Most women who work on hotlines have passion for and interest in this issue, but the job is quite difficult. .


Do you have plans to advocate changing Indonesia’s abortion law?


I do believe in advocacy, but pregnant women cannot wait for that. Pregnant women cannot wait for the law to change, so I think hotlines can offer the change they need. Hopefully we will see law change in the future, but I’m not thinking it will change soon. I believe advocacy to change the law must go along with advocacy to change society. What we do now is work to change society’s perspective on abortion. We talk about abortion in public, about abortion stigma and how this can affect women, their families and society. Even if the law changes, if society is not ready for it, then there will be no true change. I think it’s better that other organizations and networks work to change the law, and for Samsara to work to change our society—so when the law changes, society is open and ready for that. That would be great.


Source : Ipas

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