Indonesia has a great unmet need for sexual and reproductive health services and information, and unsafe abortion is believed to cause approximately 30% of maternal deaths in the country. Abortion is only legal under limited circumstances (rape and in cases of risk to a woman’s life or health), and this legal context—along with abortion-related stigma and discrimination—forces many women to resort to seeking unsafe abortions.
Ipas began working in Indonesia in 2017 to develop a close partnership with the Ministry of Health and increase the health system’s ability to provide high-quality postabortion and contraceptive care—and to ensure that women and adolescents can access these services as needed. Ipas also works with other partners to advance laws and policies that fulfill women’s and girls’ sexual and reproductive rights and to reduce the devastating impact of unsafe abortion on the lives of Indonesian women and adolescents.
A few years ago, I helped develop a sex education program for high school students that included discussion groups, with girls and boys split into separate groups. The topic the girls loved most was gender equity. In one session I attended, the girls were asked what they wanted for themselves in the future. They fell silent. We asked, ‘Why the silence?’ Their answer was heartbreaking: ‘We have not thought about our futures before this. No one has ever asked us.’ That motivated me to keep working in the field of reproductive health and rights. I want girls and young women to have the information and services they need—so that they are not left out of their own futures because of an unwanted pregnancy.”
– Samuel Olam, Ipas Indonesia, health systems policy advisor