Criminalization of Abortion in Indonesia

By : Inna Hudaya

Just like in some other countries, positive law of the Indonesian government is supporting the principles related to culture and religion. Here abortion is illegal. And so, women who commit to do abortion are seen as criminals. They have to deal with a whole society that does not accept yet the right of women to choose an action over their own body and future. While on the other hand, government also failed for preserving a bridge between majors' perspective and minors' perspective on abortion issues. The government and society failed in identifying the women as subjects. This has made the position of women as objects which makes women even more vulnerable to violence.
Abortion in Indonesia is restricted, it’s illegal except for some reasons ; the pregnancy is danger for the mother or the fetus, the pregnancy caused by rape. Abortion can be done before the gestational age of six weeks unless to save mothers lives.

Even it’s possible to have an abortion until 6 weeks of gestational age, a women do not have authority over their own decision. Married women need the consent of her husband, unmarried women need the parental consent. In the case of rape, the parental consent need to be given with the recommendation or approval of psychologist or psychiatrist.

Based on the Health Law No 36/2009, the penalties for anyone who had induced abortion were 10 years imprisonment or a fine of 1 billion rupiah.

In reality, due to resctricted access on sex education, reproductive health and health services, especially contraception, women tend to be vulnerable to unwanted pregnancy that leads to the need of safe abortion.

Women; young, unmarried, less educated, poor and in rural areas, are the most vulnerable groups and severely affected when faced unplanned pregnancy. In this situation unsafe abortion is the option that available and accessible.

The criminalization of abortion did not only impact on the number of unsafe abortion and maternal mortality, it also creates many kind of violence towards women’s rights. As the results, the criminalization of abortion develop an industry on abortion. Many illegal clinic available in cities, especially Java. Those clinic provide abortion for women without considering the rights of the patients . Women situation taking for granted. Many drug dealer cheats on women without women having the rights to report it to the police. This creates a space to many forms of violence and complicated problems toward the issue of abortion to grow.

Criminalization is violence against women’s rights. Its not only putting women as an object of violence but also letting people taking advantages from women’s situation. It’s a hypocracy of the nation ; who believe that abortion is a sin but creating another kind of sins to be grows.

Criminalization on abortion is not the answer to reduce the number of abortion. The only way to reduce the number of abortion is by fullfiling the rights to sex education and reproduction and open access to health services so women’s having control over their sexual and reproductive lives that protect them from unwanted pregnancy.

Do you think it’s wise to criminalize women without giving their rights at first? This is an act of ignorance.