Reproductive Rights

1036 Words 4 Pages
Since 1998 and the beginning of the Reform Era that has characterized post-Suharto Indonesia, programs and laws focusing on gender empowerment have abounded in the archipelago (Utomo & McDonald, 2009, p.143). Nevertheless, these multiple policies strangely have yet to deal with issues of reproductive health and rights, whose access is still very restricted and discriminatory, despite unsafe abortions accounting for five to eleven percent of maternal in the country (Amnesty International, 2010, p.10). This lack of importance accorded to reproductive rights are related to their narrow accessibility inscribed in laws, which are the reflection of the political struggle of Indonesia to keep its multiculturalist face and of social conservatism giving …show more content…
Indeed, issues of the choice of maternity lend themselves to Amartya Sen’s holistic understanding of development centered around the concept of well-being, where forced maternity is an unfreedom that limits women’s capabilities and choices (Professor K. Takamura, personal communication, September 30th, 2015). This approach to development departs from the strictly economic evaluation of development and looks at the restrained access to commodities such as health and education for women with unwanted pregnancies, which impedes their wellbeing by reducing their capabilities and, consequently, their choice of freedoms (Sen, 2005, …show more content…
In Aceh, for example, a province in North Sumatra where the sharia has recently been fully applicable, a growing, more organized anti-Western sentiment has galvanized Islam fundamentalism, denouncing the Westernization of the country especially in the wake of September 11th, and the US attacks on Iraq (Surjadjaja, 2008, p.66). In this province, the law, among other things, prohibits unmarried adult men and unmarried adult women who are not close family members being together without the presence of other people (Amnesty International, 2010, p.23). Reproductive rights, in those cases, are perceived as rooted in Western ideology (Surjadjaja, 2008, p.66), which makes their rejection very evident. Although this fundamentalism is at odds with the government’s secularism, the power to legislate on personal and moral issues has been extended to provinces as a palliative to separatist movements (Utomo & McDonald, 2009, p.135). Thus, the lack of political will to modify the legislation regarding reproductive rights can be “embedded in a struggle between liberal democracy and authoritarian theocracy” (Surjadjaja, 2008, p.66), both menacing Indonesian identity, in which the government doesn’t want to be

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