MALAYSIA: Support Reproductive Rights for Malaysian Women

Declaration from Reproductive Rights Advocacy Alliance Malaysia (RRAAM)

The 28th of September has been designated the Day of Action for the International Campaign for Women’s Right to Safe Abortion.

Today, in solidarity with civic groups around the world, we maintain that access to safe abortion is every woman’s inalienable right.

We maintain that for women to be in control of their reproductive function is as important as their right to education, employment and choice in marriage.

These rights have been enshrined in CEDAW and many other UN documents but they remain unfulfilled in Malaysia.

We demand CHANGE.

Here are some important points on the Malaysian situation:

1. Our penal code permitting abortion is based on a doctor’s opinion of the effect of the continuing pregnancy on a woman’s mental or physical health. It should be based on the woman’s personal decision. Doctors should only give medical advice.
2. A number of doctors working in the Ministry of Health do not recognize the penal code as it stands and often refuse to provide abortions for pregnancies resulting from rape.
3. There is a prevailing culture of silence which makes accessing information on abortion difficult and distressing for women, and delays treatment.
4. This also enables the exploitation of women by some doctors who charge exorbitant fees, and encourages clandestine untrained providers.
5. Refusal to acknowledge the need for safe abortions has resulted in widespread ignorance of new abortion technologies. This deprives women of the benefits of medical progress which makes the procedure both cheaper and safer.

Not religion, culture or the state
Women should decide their fate!

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