BY UMSU PRESS
Abortion in the United States?
In 1973, the Supreme Court of the United State handed down it’s landmark decisions in the case of Roe v. Wade and Doe v. Bolton which affirmed that accessing to safe and legal abortion is a constitutional right. Consequently, every state had legalised the abortion with the balance of protecting women's health and prenatal life.
Therefore, a standard is used by most of the states to maintain the balance stated above, which is the three-trimester pregnancy. A woman has the absolute right to abortion in the first three months, which also known as the first trimester. Moving on to the second or third trimester, the U.S. government prohibited abortion except for reasonable health issues.
This right of women for abortions has been a landmark decision of the United States Supreme Court and this particular right has been protected for a half-century.
Abortion in Texas?
However, in Texas, United States, a law came into effect on the 1st September 2021 which is imposing a near-total ban on abortion. The law is also known as a ban for heartbeat abortion, which abortion or termination is prohibited once a fetal heartbeat can be detected, usually at six weeks and often before a woman even realizes she is pregnant.
Besides, the citizens in Texas are granted the right to sue doctors who perform abortion surgery beyond the legal boundary. However, this will cause most of the clinics to close as according to the abortion-rights groups, there are approximately 85-90% of abortion surgery are performed after sixth weeks of pregnancy or fetal heartbeat existed.
The current President of the United States, Joe Biden warned that the said ban will cause an"unconstitutional chaos" by infringing on a right that women have exercised for almost a half-century.
Abortion in Malaysia?
The law of abortion (Section 312 of the Malaysian Penal Code) was established in Malaysia under the British Empire’s Indian 1871 penal code which all kinds of voluntary abortions are illegal in Malaysia with some certain exceptions after two amendments were made.
Amendment in 1971 is made where abortion was allowed if the pregnancy has the risk of threatening the pregnant woman’s life.
Amendment in 1989 is made where abortion was allowed if the pregnancy involve injury to the mental or physical health of the pregnant woman.
In essence, Section 312 states that abortion is permitted if a registered medical practitioner is of the opinion, formed in good faith, that the continuance of pregnancy would be a threat to the woman’s life or cause injury to the woman’s physical or mental health.
Hence, in Malaysia, the rape victims and issues of fetal impairment are fully prohibited abortion in any circumstances. However, the “good faith” requirement according to Section 312 lacks a clear interpretation and uncertainty.
Nirmala abortion case
Nirmala, a young Nepalase women, who was the first women in Malaysia to be sent to prison for abortion in 2014.
Due to the fear of losing job as a legal migrant worker after she knew that she was in the sixth weeks of pregnancy, Nirmala sought an abortion at a local clinic. After evaluating the possibilities of Nirmala losing her work, having to pay compensation to her employer, and being sent back home if she was proven pregnant, the doctor was of the opinion that she was legally justified to have a termination.
Nirmala and the doctor were arrested by the officials of the Malaysian Ministry of Health, and she was charged under Section 315 of the Penal Code for committing “an act done with intent to prevent a child from being born alive” . Nirmala was sentenced to 12 months in prison.
Nirmala’s case was appealed and sent back to the lower court. Nirmala was released on bail for the duration of the trial, which lasted for eight months.Nirmala was therefore acquitted on the grounds that forcing her to carry on with the pregnancy would put her life in danger, given her particular circumstances. The doctor who handled Nirmala's abortion was cleared of charges.
Innocent women such as Nirmala would be treated as criminals and wrongfully arrested in the future, just because of the lack of clear interpretation and uncertainty in the law.
Although there are exceptions permitting abortion in Malaysia, many women are still facing unfair dilemmas comparing to men. Women carry more responsibility than men on the issue of abortion. There is still a long way for Malaysians to acknowledge women’s rights.
For example, in India, which has a similar law as Malaysia, the Indian Supreme Court, ruled in favour of a rape survivor to abort her foetus and the bench held that she was allowed to abort the child as it was necessary to preserve the physical and mental health of the girl. Therefore, there is still a chance for Malaysia law to protect women’s rights as many questions are unanswered and gaps to be filled.
Rather than choosing to be pro-choice or pro-life, the most crucial part to concern about is always the root of the problem which is the poor sex education in Malaysia. The youngsters are not taught enough to perform birth control well and also do not understand the responsibility of being parents. The worst is some do not even understand how to respect the sexual autonomy of others. These factors have caused women to face the unwanted dilemma which is attempting for abortion.
We can look forward in raising the awareness in Malaysia of having correct perspective about sex through inserting an explanatory, informatory and educative sex education in the schools and public campaigns. Women's rights should not be taken lightly as our country strives for gender equality. Furthermore, as more women enter positions of power, the possibility of reform increases. Therefore, the global community will take another step toward global justice and equity by promoting Malaysia's approach to gender equality.
Compiled References: https://linkmix.co/6238987
Written by Secretariat of Current Affairs 2021/2022
👉 Check out @umsupress to find out more.
👉 Follow @umsupress to get yourself updated with the latest news and students activities!
#umsu #kmum #umsupress #universitimalaya #abortion #abortionrights #abortionisawomansright #abortionisnotmurder #abortionaccess #proabortion #us #texas #malaysia