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ABORTION POLICY
REPRODUCTIVE HEALTH CONTEXT
Malaysia
Grounds on wi! a"or#ion is $%r&i##%d'
To save the life of the woman Yes
To preserve physical health Yes
To preserve mental health Yes
Rape or incest No
Foetal impairment No
Economic or social reasons No
Available on request No
Addi#ional r%(uir%&%n#s'
Thirdparty authori!ation by a medical professional is required" The le#al period allowed is 1$% days
and the woman&s consent is required"
'overnment view on fertility level( Too hi#h
'overnment intervention concernin# fertility level( To lower
'overnment policy on contraceptive use( )irect support provided
*ercenta#e of currently married women usin#
modern contraception +a#ed 1,-9. 19//0( 11
Total fertility rate +199,$%%%0( 1"$
A#especific fertility rate +per 1.%%% women a#ed 1,19. 199,$%%%0( $,
'overnment has e2pressed particular concern about(
3orbidity and mortality resultin# from induced abortion Yes
4omplications of childbearin# and childbirth Yes
3aternal mortality ratio +per 1%%.%%% live births. 199%0(
National /%
5outheastern Asia --%
Female life e2pectancy at birth +199,$%%%0( 6-"1
Source: *opulation *olicy )ata 7an8 maintained by the *opulation )ivision of the )epartment for Economic and 5ocial Affairs of the 9nited
Nations 5ecretariat" For additional sources. see list of references"
1$%
BAC)GROUND
Malaysia
9nder the former lan#ua#e of section 11$ of the *enal 4ode of 3alaysia. which was in effect until 19/9. the
only le#al basis for the performance of an abortion was to save the life of the pre#nant woman"
:n April 19/9. however. section 11$ of Act 6$6 of the *enal 4ode was amended substantially to permit
abortion if a medical practitioner was of the opinion. formed in #ood faith. that the continuance of the pre#nancy
would involve ris8 to the life of the pre#nant woman. or in;ury to the mental or physical health of the pre#nant
woman. #reater than if the pre#nancy were terminated" The chan#e appears to reflect to some de#ree the view of
3alaysia&s population" A national fertility and family survey found that 61 per cent of the women surveyed
endorsed abortion on the #rounds of rape or incest< ,-"1 per cent endorsed it if the woman was unmarried. ,$"$
per cent for health reasons and 1-", per cent for economic and social reasons"
:f an abortion is performed in violation of the provisions of section 11$ of the *enal 4ode and the woman
consents. both she and the person performin# the abortion are sub;ect to up to seven years& imprisonment and
payment of a fine if she is =quic8> with child< if she is not =quic8> with child. they are sub;ect to up to three
years& imprisonment and?or payment of a fine" A woman is usually considered to be =quic8> with child around
the fourth month of pre#nancy" :f the woman does not consent. the person performin# the abortion is sub;ect to
up to $% years& imprisonment and payment of a fine whether the woman is =quic8> with child or not" :f the
abortion results in the death of the woman and she has consented. the person performin# the abortion is sub;ect
to up to 1% years& imprisonment and payment of a fine< if she did not consent. the person is sub;ect to up to $%
years& imprisonment"
:nformation on the incidence of abortion is not readily available" A report issued prior to the 19/9
amendment of section 11$ of the *enal 4ode estimated an abortion ratio of one in three live births" :n addition.
induced abortion ratios per 1%% pre#nancies have reportedly more than doubled. with ratios in urban areas three
times as hi#h as in rural areas"
4itin# the advanta#es of a lar#er population in providin# both an e2panded domestic mar8et and a reservoir
of labour resources. the 'overnment promul#ated a revised population policy in 19/-. which sou#ht to
decelerate the tempo of the decline in the fertility rate and to stabili!e population si!e at about 6% million by the
year $%1%"
9nder the new pro#ramme. the family is bein# promoted as the basic unit of society" The =total family
concept> calls for #reater emphasis on parentin#. child development. marria#e and family counsellin# and for
the provision of childcare facilities to allow women to combine parentin# with labourmar8et activities" At the
same time. the 'overnment reported that. accordin# to family plannin# surveys. a si!eable proportion of the
couples that did not want additional children were not practisin# contraception and that many couples were
relyin# upon inefficient traditional methods" The 'overnment concluded that the situation called for #reater
educational efforts to brin# those underserved tar#et #roups into the pro#ramme"
3alaysia has over $, years of history of family plannin#" :n 19@@. the 3alaysian *arliament passed the
National Family *lannin# Act and established the National Family *lannin# 7oard to formulate policies and
methods for the promotion and spread of family plannin# practices in the country" The Employment Ardinance
of 19,,. which provided for a maternity leave and allowance for a period of @% days. was amended in 196@ to
disallow a maternity allowance to a woman with three or more children"
A comprehensive family plannin# pro#ramme was formulated as part of the 5i2th 3alaysian )evelopment
*lan for the period 1991199," 7oth the 3inistry of Bealth and the 3alaysian Federation of Family *lannin#
Associations disseminate information and family plannin# services to both men and women"
Source: *opulation *olicy )ata 7an8 maintained by the *opulation )ivision of the )epartment for Economic and 5ocial Affairs of the 9nited
Nations 5ecretariat" For additional sources. see list of references"