Abstract Each year in Indonesia, millions of women become pregnant unintentionally, and many choose to end their pregnancies, despite the fact that abortion is generally illegal. Like their…

Abortion in Indonesia. [Issues Brief (Alan Guttmacher Inst). 2008] - PubMed - NCBI

Abstract

Each year in Indonesia, millions of women become pregnant unintentionally, and many choose to end their pregnancies, despite the fact that abortion is generally illegal. Like their counterparts in many developing countries where abortion is stigmatized and highly restricted, Indonesian women often seek clandestine procedures performed by untrained providers, and resort to methods that include ingesting unsafe substances and undergoing harmful abortive massage. Though reliable evidence does not exist, researchers estimate that about two million induced abortions occur each year in the country and that deaths from unsafe abortion represent 14-16% of all maternal deaths in Southeast Asia. Preventing unsafe abortion is imperative if Indonesia is to achieve the fifth Millennium Development Goal of improving maternal health and reducing maternal mortality. Current Indonesian abortion law is based on a national health bill passed in 1992. Though the language on abortion was vague, it is generally accepted that the law allows abortion only if the woman provides confirmation from a doctor that her pregnancy is life-threatening, a letter of consent from her husband or a family member, a positive pregnancy test result and a statement guaranteeing that she will practice contraception afterwards. This report presents what is currently known about abortion in Indonesia. The findings are derived primarily from small-scale, urban, clinic-based studies of women's experiences with abortion. Some studies included women in rural areas and those who sought abortions outside of clinics, but none were nationally representative. Although these studies do not give a full picture of who is obtaining abortions in Indonesia or what their experiences are, the evidence suggests that abortion is a common occurrence in the country and that the conditions under which abortion takes place are often unsafe.

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