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Indonesian girl’s plight prompts call to legalise abortion

Indonesian girl’s plight prompts call to legalise abortion

KUALA LUMPUR: Calls to decriminalise abortion grew louder in Indonesia on Wednesday after a teenage girl who was raped by her brother was jailed for six months for terminating her pregnancy, sparking anger among activists who deman­ded her immediate release.

The 15-year-old, from Jam­­­bi province on the Indon­e­sian island of Sumatra, was sentenced last month after a judge found her guilty of having an abortion, according to rights groups including Amnesty International.

Her brother, 18, was jai­led for two years for sexually assaulting a minor, while their mother was arres­­ted for assisting in an abortion, Amnesty International said.




Budi Wahyuni, vice chairwoman of the government-backed National Commis­sion on Violence Against Women, called the girl’s punishment a “gross injustice”.

“She was raped and now jailed, it is a double injustice. All women must be given the right to decide on abortion and not being subjected to any punishments,” she told the Thomson Reut­ers Foundation by phone from Jakarta on Wednesday.

Abortion is illegal in Indonesia, the world’s largest Muslim country, unless the mother’s life is at risk or it is performed under certain circumstances such as rape. The 15-year-old was about six months pregnant, officials have said.

Calling for decriminalisation, Amnesty Interna­tional said that denying a rape victim an abortion violates her right to be free from torture or inhumane treatment.

Published in Dawn, August 2nd, 2018

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