Wednesday, August 11, 2021 | News

Taking action to ‘shift the paradigm’ on postabortion care in Indonesia

Ipas Indonesia is using the momentum of new national guidelines on postabortion care to “shift the paradigm” on women’s reproductive health in the country.

After collaborating with the Ministry of Health and other key partners to develop and launch the guidelines earlier this year, Ipas is now working closely with the Indonesia Midwives Association (IBI) and other health associations to disseminate and implement the new standards.

“While we continue to advocate for expanding access to safe abortion, it’s also crucial to expand and improve access to high-quality postabortion care,” says Marcia Soumokil, director of Ipas Indonesia. Indonesia’s restrictive abortion law forces many to seek out abortions which are carried out under unsafe conditions. This increases the need for treatment of postabortion complications—and in some cases, this treatment is lifesaving.

Because many women choose midwives for reproductive care, Soumokil says working with the IBI to implement the new guidelines “is a real opportunity to shift the paradigm for women’s reproductive health in Indonesia. Midwives will be a strong, driving force in ensuring that the guidelines are centered around women’s rights and needs.”

Ipas Indonesia provided technical assistance to the Ministry of Health as the standards were being developed.  “We brought in a diverse group of experts with postabortion care experience, including midwives and OB/GYNs,” says Nur Jannah, Ipas Indonesia program manager. “Lessons learned from a postabortion care service model that we had piloted at 13 health-care sites across the country also provided insights—and showed that the provision of high-quality, woman-centered postabortion care is doable in the Indonesian context.”

In the coming months, Ipas Indonesia and the Ministry of Health will be reaching out to health providers to disseminate the new guidelines. Plans call for meeting with representatives from health associations and private hospitals in Jakarta and other areas. 

Abortion in Indonesia

  • Abortion is legal only under very limited circumstances
  • The highly restrictive law means that the vast majority of abortions are outside the legal parameters and that many occur under unsafe conditions
  • The provision of postabortion care is legal and includes treatment for complications from unsafe abortion.
  • Access to high-quality postabortion care—in addition to contraceptive services and safe abortion—needs to be improved and expanded

Source: Induced abortion in Indonesia, Guttmacher Institute, November 2020