What’s Up With the Abortion Issue?

“When I was breastfeeding my first child, I got pregnant again, then I decided to discontinue my second pregnancy because my child was still small and I was not yet ready to get pregnant again”,  said a mother. 

The above is an excerpt of a confession shared by one participant during the question and answer session of the book review routinely held by Rahima Library. This time at Rahima Library in the second week of Ramadhan (Wednesday, 4/10 2006), the reviewed book entitled Fikih Aborsi: Wacana Penguatan Hak Reproduksi Perempuan (The Fiqh of Abortion: the Discourse of Strengthening Women’s Reproductive Rights) is the result of research conducted by Maria Ulfah Anshor, the chairwoman of Fatayat NU, a familiar figure among NU members and activists. 

This discussion presented two speakers i.e. Maria Ulfa Anshor, the author, and AD. Eridani, deputy director of Rahima who is also an advocate of the Health Bill. Moderated by Maman Abdul Rahman, the event started exactly at 15:20 pm. Through the author’s initial presentation, it was asserted that the presence of the book was not intended to legalize abortion but rather to emphasize the importance of comprehensive health care to prevent death, especially to mothers as a result of an unsafe termination of unwanted pregnancy. 

On this occasion, the second speaker gave an overview of the impact of the implementation of the Regional Autonomy (OTODA) which results in the obstruction of the BKKBN (National Population and Family Planning Board) program, as it is no more become the priority of local government. Consequently, the socialization or dissemination of important information about reproductive health or knowledge about contraceptives to mothers in the region decreases sharply. 

The explanation given by the two speakers was very interesting. There was a lot of new information conveyed because the theme of abortion was discussed along with the female perspective of the Islamic Law supplemented by real evidence. So, when the question and answer session started, the participants responded enthusiastically. The participants were coming from different backgrounds yielded various questions, even sharing information also took place in this forum. 

There was a participant who talked about the difficulty in obtaining information about safe abortion. Other participants gave an overview of how public identify the behavior of abortion as committed mostly by teenagers. Still, many others also asked about the religious postulations (dalil) related to the development of the fetus in the womb and what strategy should be done to deal with groups who are disagree with the women’s health movement. 

Considering the enthusiastic participants, the authors provided an overview of what is being done by Yayasan Pelita Ilmu in order to disseminate information about reproductive health among adolescents. The preparation and dissemination of modules in the form of compact disk (CD) containing information on the adolescent reproductive health of which one of the topics is the information on abortion. It also involved teachers and students in disseminating the socialization of this module. The second speaker also described the experience with her team when dealing with one of the hardline women groups in Indonesia related to the issue of abortion.

It was reiterated at the end of the event that no woman wanted to have an abortion. Abortion should be done as a final measure. Because basically, the country must protect the right of life and healthy life of its people, one of them is through the Health Bill on which the discussion is still buzzing about between the government and factions in the House of Representative.

The event ended with breaking the fast together in Rahima, to strengthen silaturahmi among participants, speakers, and Rahima staffs.

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