PETALING JAYA: The introduction of a comprehensive sex education syllabus and improved access to contraceptives could prevent unwanted pregnancies and unsafe abortions in Malaysia, says Reproductive Rights Advocacy Alliance Malaysia (RRAAM) co- chair Dr Chong SP.
Chong also said that the public, including medical practitioners themselves, were largely unclear on Malaysia’s abortion laws, leading doctors to refuse giving abortions and women having to resort to illegal – and unsafe – abortions.
Reports suggest that between 2015 and 2017, there were at least five deaths linked to unsafe abortions, with another three cases classified as “critical”.
“Many patients who comes to us either online or to our clinic said that they’ve been to several other clinics or they’ve rung up private hospitals and they have been refused abortions,” he said.
“Preventing unwanted pregnancies and unsafe abortions is our primary objective, ” said Chong.
“Teenagers must know about contraceptives and access to contraception must be good, that means there’s no judgement issues against single women or couples going for contraception,” he said.
Meanwhile Regency Specialist Hospital senior Consultant Obstetrician & Gynaecologist Dr Sharifah Halimah Jaafar said some doctors, herself included, would find it difficult to justify the termination of a pregnancy especially when dealing with patients who use abortions as a form of contraceptives.
“The doctors have religious values that they cannot reconcile when doing termination for reasons they feel are not good or valid, ” she said.
“I definitely feel depressed when I have to terminate a pregnancy when they [the couple] didn’t want to use contraception and don’t want to take responsibility for their choice,” she added. – The Star