Abortion In Malaysia Essay

Abortion in Malaysia

On 13 February 2011, an article in the New Straits Times (“Is abortion the answer?”) highlighted a fact which is little-known but ought not to be. Abortion is not illegal in Malaysia.

Section 312 of the Penal Code states that a termination of pregnancy is permitted in circumstances where there is risk to the life of the pregnant woman or threat of injury to her physical or mental health.

Although terminations are permitted, the law is nevertheless limited. Under the Penal Code it is the doctor alone who makes the decision as to whether a termination should be carried out. This is especially worrying in view of the results from the 2007 survey by the Reproductive Rights Advocacy Alliance of Malaysia (RRAAM) which found that only 57 per cent of 120 doctors and nurses surveyed knew that abortion is legal in certain circumstances.

Women have the right to determine the course of their lives and they have the right to make decisions about their own bodies.

Women must be equipped with knowledge and be aware of the options available to them, so that they can make informed decisions. However expert a doctor may be, doctors will never be fully aware of the facts of a woman's circumstances and so cannot make a completely informed decision about the appropriateness of a given option. It is the woman who has this understanding and it is the woman who should be legally and practically empowered to make the decision.

However, many women cannot make this fully informed decision because they are not provided with comprehensive and unbiased information about sex, contraception, abortion and sexually transmitted diseases. This needs to change.

It is encouraging to note that the government has recently introduced the Social and Reproductive Health Education Programme into the National Service curriculum, so that young people can be given the knowledge they need to make informed choices.

And this is the crux of the issue – when people are provided with clear and unbiased information, they can make the most appropriate decisions for themselves.


Sarah Thwaites

Programme Officer, WAO


Published on February 13, 2011


In Malaysia, cabinet decides baby dumping cases investigated as murder or attempted murder to ensure that inhuman acts receive severe punishment (“Mixed reaction to classifying”, 2010). Some others said that they should given a new chance to repent on what they have done. Our opinions, the punishment is heavy for them due to most of baby dumpers in Malaysia and other countries were committed by underage and teenagers around 20’s. In order to find the solutions for this problem, the community and government need to find the causes and factors that contribute to the problem first.

The factors that contribute to baby dumping are cultural values and perspective of the community, HIV/AIDS, poverty and lack of sex education. Cultural value is a concept that a community sharing together about what is right, wrong, possible or impossible, true or false and so on (Young, 2009) while according Oxford dictionary perspective can describe as an attitude or a way of thinking about something. Some of country shares a similar perspective and values. Because of we cripple the issue of baby dumping, so we will focus on what the community thinks that broke into this problem.

What makes one girl decided to dump the illegal baby, because they are afraid if they are not accepted by the family and society. This is because having children outside marriage which the mother is no longer involved in a relationship with the father is seen unacceptable in culture in certain country especially in Asian country and Africa (Maundeni & Nnyepi, 2011). Besides that, the mother who carried illegal baby in her belly will think that she would be a shame if people outside the family know about her pregnancy. Due to that, it leads mother to throw or bury their babies (“Baby-dumping rates soar among school girls”, 2011).

Family and community play important roles in this case by giving a moral support for them (Hafidzhi Razali, 2012). Parents and community need to guide them and support them when they go through the phase of their mistake not judging them. This is because they are still young which cannot think what is right and wrong. Yes, they made mistake but the parents and community should correct them and tell them this is not the end of the world. We need to realize that these young people decided to abandon their baby because of they are out of options due to the limitations set upon by social circumstances.

From being despised by society and scolded by the family, it is preferable to dump the baby. Abortion is prohibited in all religion no matter you are Christian, Islam, Jews, Buddha or Hindu. Abortion can be like killing a person life so that is why it is prohibits to practice. Many girls who share their experience said that they choose to abandon their babies is because of abortion is prohibited in society (Jia, 2010). Like we mentioned earlier, these girls are young to think what is right to do. So they think that abandon the baby is the best options rather than abortion.

This is because they believe that abandon the baby in the dustbin which the baby is still alive is so much better than abort. The second factors that contribute to baby dumping are human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) or acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS). When we say about HIV/AIDS, society always has negative thought about the disease. When someone get infected by other people, they will get the punishment too even though it not their fault. A child with HIV/AIDS always get insulted and negative look from the society even though they didn’t ask for the disease.

Issue on baby dumping has been widely happen around the world. The baby been dumped because of the infected of HIV/AIDS. HIV/AIDS can be transmitting through sexual contact with the infected, sharing needles or other injection equipment with the infected person, through an open cut or wound and mother to infant. Mother to child transmission of the disease can be happen during the pregnancy month, delivery and after birth and breastfeeding (Otti & Jallow, 2003). This is called perinatal transmission that is usual way the disease transmitted to the child (American Pregnancy Association, 2012).

The chances for the baby to be infected is 25% if the mother not taking any treatment during the pregnancy. Baby gets infected by the virus through the blood circulation from the mother HIV-positive, make the fetus to be exposed in the HIV process (Cichocki, 2010). Therefore, the mother who infected will feel depressed due to the transmission of HIV. The depression will lead the mother to dump the baby as her last option. During the delivery, the connection between mother and baby are umbilical cord, which connects the baby with the mother body fluids and blood that contains the virus.

The body fluids may get the baby to be infected. Mother with HIV positive are not allow to breastfeed their babies because of the mother milk has very high concentration of HIV. They have been suggested to give commercial milk formula to their babies to avoid the babies from being infected. Due to that, it is kind of burden to the mother to spend money on commercial milk. The other major factor that will contribute to baby dumping is poverty. As we know that if the parents do not have any money to raise the child, they may dump their babies so that they will not have to pay all the baby basic’s requirements, (Sulayman Makalo, n. ).

For example, to raise a good baby they will need shelter, and some other basic requirements. For some poor families, they cannot afford for the shelter. This is due to the money shortage and they neither able to buy nor rent a house for the family. Most of the cases of baby dumping are happened in the poor country such as Africa, (Skosana, n. d). There are so many people who live incompetent where some of the families did not plan the pregnancy, but then after the mother pregnant they are not able to raise and give the basic requirements to the baby.

This include for the baby’s food, clothes and education. This may affect the developmental growth of the children (Sulayman Makalo, n. d). They dump their baby and hoping that someone will take care for their child with complete requirements with proper education. Other than that, there are some cases that the mother abandoned the baby as a solution due to desperation, (“Baby dumping-A genocide”, 2012). According to Gosamalang (2011), most of the women who leave and kill their babies are poor, single mother and often the first time mother.

This may happen because they are fear of being poor while raising the child. Besides that, there will be a lot of cost needed to grow a child, to buy their food, milk, diapers and clothes. The mother may desperate and under pressure and finally they will dump the baby. Moreover, the father of the child doesn’t want to take the responsibility for the child, which may be the unwanted pregnancy and have no money and disable to grow them. In the developing country such as Malaysia, most of the cases are related to teenagers.

This is because eenagers are still young, full with curiosity and not able to raise their own babies, (“Baby dumping-A genocide”, 2012). They only know to enjoy their youth while they actually have no money and not able to carry a huge responsibility, such as take cares their own baby. They are the largest group who neglect their babies with hope they can start a new life. They also should be studying in school or college where they have no sufficient money to survive with the baby. Here, it can be concluded that poverty is one of the major causes that escalates the baby dumping cases worldwide.

The last factors that contribute to baby dumping are sex education. Nowadays, these youngsters are lack of knowledge about sex education, which they are clueless about it. In Nazni Noordin et al, 2012, research; they said that with not enough knowledge on sex, it adds to unwanted pregnancy which it can lead to the baby dumping issues. With the knowledge on sex education, the youngsters can differentiate between bad and good. So in order that all of these youngsters get all the knowledge on sex education, government must play a vital role so that the baby dumping issues are in control.

Moreover, in order to decreases the issues, government should introduce sex education in school to combat baby dumping issues (“Malaysia Considering Sex Education”, 2010). With introducing sex education to school across Malaysia, it can tackle the widespread of baby dumping issues. Even though by bring out the sex education classes have against conservative elements, saying that it will encourage lechery, but with the abandoned of newborns all over the country by young mothers has forced a reconsider.

Other than that, according to Singh and Tan, 2010, with sex education, it is creating an accurate understanding of reproductive health among the young, which it was important in reducing baby dumping. It is believe one of the methods that can adopt to raise awareness among schoolchildren especially the youngsters. To success the education, all sectors, includes government, private sector and non-governmental organizations were needed as part of a complete ways to address baby dumping. Furthermore, sex education in school also can create awareness among young generation towards consequences of free sex (Nazni Noordin et al, 2012).

Nazni Noordin et al, 2012, also stated that, teenagers nowadays find it much harder to come up with good reasons to say “no” to sex and to use birth control pills carefully and it shows that there is low awareness among the teenagers towards the sex which its lead to the unwanted pregnancy and consequently, it will lead to baby dumping. Nazni Noordin et al, 2012 cited from Dr. Ismail Thamby, 2010, usually young generation will not think of the result with their behavior. In addition, it is not only government who responsible to control the baby dumping issues.

It also must come from the “root” itself which is the teenagers’ parents or family. As a parent, they need to be fully aware of what their teenagers is taught in school. In order to overcome this situation, parents and family must be open-minded when it came to sex education or sex talk with their children. Moreover, parents should pay more attention and be more supportive to their children so that the young mothers are not afraid of them if they are pregnant outside the marriage (Nazni Noordin et al, 2012).

Furthermore, they need to talk to their children about sexuality issues (Mellanby et al, 1995). Other than that, according to Mellanby et al, 1995, all parents should be prepared to answer questions that their children may have. By this it can be sure that the information that the parents provided is complete and accurate and more importantly, it reflects the family’s values. The parents also must control and aware of their children’s outdoor activities in order to prevents unwanted pregnancies which can lead to baby dumping.

As the conclusion, this baby dumping issue is hard to control. Before we think about on how to solve this problem, we have to tackle from the root that contributes to baby dumping. Like we have discussed earlier, the factors that contribute to baby dumping are cultural values and perspective of the community, HIV and AIDS, poverty and sex education. Moreover, baby dumping gives so many negative impacts to our society and we have to take several actions in order to reduce the numbers of baby dumping cases.

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