By: Muvitasari

Halimah, female, 17 years old, unmarried, and is a mother. She lives in a village and had ever earned education in a high school. Halimah, like other teenagers, has a boyfriend but never has access to a correct and proper information on sex and sexuality. Sexual intercourse and sexuality is not a topic that – according to her parents – deserves to be discussed by her and the family.

Halimah has ever heard about condom and pills to avoid pregnancy, but she doesn’t really know about that. Halimah thought she would never get pregnant the first time she did sexual intercourse with her boyfriend. Halimah had ever done it without using the condom or another contraception tool.

Halimah started to get panic when her menstruation period had passed. She felt alone, confused, not knowing to whom she had to tell about it. At first, Halimah tried to keep her pregnancy as a secret, but as time went by she couldn’t bear to hide it. Halimah’s parents were very upset, and forced her to marry her boyfriend to save her future. As her belly went bigger, the school urged her to resign.  

(Halimah’s Journey, Indonesia, IPPF-Girls Decide)

Halimah is one of the teenagers in Indonesia having unwanted pregnancy. Halimah chooses to continue pregnancy but unmarried after she went through a counselling with a doctor at PKBI (Indonesian Family Planning Association) clinic.

According to Survey of Indonesian Teen Reproduction Health in 2007, around 110 female teenagers and 691 male teenagers respondents, admitted to having done sexual intercourses. Feeling a curios is one of the several reasons. Another thing is, a sexual intercourse just happened like that. Female teenagers expressed themselves to have done sexual intercourse before marriage by reason they would get married afterward. Friends’ influence doesn’t affect them too much in doing sexual intercourse as found in this survey, only 5% of respondents stating they had been under pressure of their fellows in doing it.

The SKRRI 2007 data shows there is very few respondents having unwanted pregnancy.  Six of ten respondents having unwanted pregnancy had ever committed abortion (intentional or spontaneous) and four of ten respondents choose to continue their pregnancy, including those who try to abort but failed. The data on unwanted pregnancy provided by SKRRI 2007 is almost the same as PKBI. Result of the study “Client’s Profile of Menstruation Recovery 2004-2009” aged 13 to 50 years old to 31.697 PKBI’s clients carried out in 9 cities such as Medan, Jakarta, Bandung, Surabaya, Denpasar, Manado, Semarang, Yogyakarta and Mataram shows the clients under 20 years of age who accessed the menstruation recovery service or abortion are as many as 2.726 people or 8,6%. The youngest age accessed this service is 13 years old. 

In the meantime, the unwanted pregnancy counseling data obtained by PKBI in 9 cities for 11 years (2000-2011) shows the majority (more than 75%) respondents choosing to stop their unwanted pregnancy is those who have married (proven with marriage certificate). The data shows the main reason to end up unwanted pregnancy is to have enough children or failure of executing family planning program (56%-57%). 

Before accessing the menstruation recovery service or abortion at PKBI clinic, 40% clients have attempted to do abortion by using pills or herbal medicines and 1% clients have come to meet  with a doctor to ask for a massage. They get medicines easily at drug store, pharmacies, midwife or doctor, but the dosage advised is different and clients don’t get a thorough explanation on result and what to do if the attempt is failed and pregnancy grows. This data shows some clients executed unsafe abortion first, and if it fails, they look forward to access services provided by PKBI clinics. 

The number of teenagers in Indonesia according to Population Census carried out by Bureau of Statistic Center (or Badan Pusat Statistik, abbreviated as BPS) in 2010 is as many as 63 million. This number doesn’t go on line with better access to service and information regarding reproductive health and sex for teens. They become vulnerably exposed to reproductive health problems such as unwanted pregnancy which lead to unsafe abortion, not ready for marriage, gender based and sex violence, HIV and Sexual Transmitted Infection. 

The government through policies and programs has tried hard to fulfill what teenagers need on information about sex and reproductive health services. The Regulation number 36 year 2009 about Health states Reproductive Health on its Sixth Chapter. On the article 71 verse 3, it is stated the reproductive health program carried out through promotive, preventive, curative and rehabilitative activities. Everyone (including teenagers) have the right to obtain sufficient information, education and counseling on correct and credible reproductive health service (article 72).  Therefore, the government is obliged to guarantee the availability of information and health service facilities on safe, certifiable reproductive health which is affordable for all, including the family planning program (article 73). Ministry of National Education has launched the Reproductive Health Education Program for hearing and visually impaired teenagers by using the information technology media and electronic books. The National Family Planning Coordination Board (or abbreviated as BKKBN) has also developed Information and Counseling Center on Teenagers’ Reproductive Health (PIK-KRR) and intends to make it as part of national curriculum. 

Apart from the programs related to teenagers’ reproductive health developed by government, several NGOs have also established Sexual and Reproductive Health Education (SRHE) for teenagers on the curriculum, but it seems to be carried out individually and not to be applied synergistically among others.

SRHE for teenagers is believed to be the answer to sex and reproductive health problems encountered by teenagers nowadays. A comprehensive sexual and reproductive health education basically needs to be delivered urgently to teenagers. It requires systematic efforts and strategies so the sex and reproductive health education can be implemented at schools. The efforts carried out must come from the teenagers, teachers, the school’s authority and related stakeholders. Teenagers, as the subject of reproductive health education must be involved actively. A comprehensive sexual and reproductive health education implementation should also be accompanied with the availability of related services pertaining to rights of sex and reproductive health which are teenagers-friendly. 

Back to the story of Halimah, she is one among many teenagers in Indonesia experiencing unwanted pregnancy, due to limited access to information and related services to the rights of sex and reproductive health service. We don’t have to wait any longer for another victim due to this absence of information and education. One teenager becomes the victim, it is already too much. [] Muvi

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