Imagine yourself a seventeen year old girl, the mother or father of this girl, the brother, sister, boyfriend, or friend.  You hear of a death, the result of an induced abortion from untrained hands; the young girl bled to death.  That young girl is you, or that loved one now lost.  In the United States, we rarely, if ever, hear of cases regarding this happening.  Indonesians live differently.  The government in Indonesia has places thousands in a suffocating and life threatening jail of discriminatory laws, policies, and practices.  Article 7 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights: “All are equal before the law and are entitled without any discrimination to equal protection of the law.  All are entitled to equal protection against any discrimination in violation of this Declaration and against any incitement to such discrimination.”

Amnesty International released a report, “Barriers Prevent Indonesian Women From Achieving Reproductive Health”, and those barriers are comprised of discriminatory practices and the failure to live by the standards established by the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and the Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination Against Women.  Contraception is strictly controlled-with a law even existing that a women must acquire her husband’s consent to acquire birth control methods.  Early marriages are allowed, to girls as young as sixteen.  And those girls may, and definitely have, turn to unsafe and deadly abortions.  Abortion is only available to victims of rape, but most are unaware, including the ill informed health workers, who also tend to disallow unmarried or childless women from acquiring birth control.

Indonesia is party to CEDAW-the Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination Against Women, which consists of Articles that work to achieve gender equality.  Indonesia has failed to respect Article 12…”ensure access to health care services, including those related to family” and “ensure women appropriate services in connection with pregnancy, confinement, and the post-natal period”.

This failure also deprives girls and women of education, which all human beings are entitled to.  A young girl in Indonesia was expelled from school for becoming pregnant.  Did she become pregnant because her husband did not provide the permission for her to acquire birth control? A frightening possibility, and now her life is painfully restricted.  Indonesia has stripped women of rights, denying education, happiness, and life itself.

Indonesia has failed to comply with an international convention, thus Indonesia has acquired shame.  This will cause stirring within the government.  Act for those who cannot act for themselves in Indonesia and go to

Or you can write your Senators on America’s need to ratify the Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination Against Women.  Gender equality is in a depressed state all over the world, even in the United States.  Urge for a standard that the United States needs to meet.


Emily Harmon

Iowa UNA

November 10, 2010


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