Indonesia Religious Leaders Unite Against Abortion

Indonesia religious leaders united this week against government plans to legalize abortion, according to media reports on Thursday.

Muslim, Christian, Hindu, Buddhist and other religious leaders released a joint statement denouncing plans to amend the Health Law and called on the public to "preserve life from conception." Indonesia is the world's most populous Muslim majority country. While extremist Muslim groups have clashed with Christians and other minorities in Indonesia, mainstream Muslim leaders have joined with their counterparts in the unusual joint statement.

"Under no circumstances is abortion condoned by any religion. It is prohibited by all religions, as it can be categorized as murder," Muslim leader Umar Syihab was quoted by the Jakarta Post as saying. Umar said abortion is morally unjustifiable unless it is to save the life of the mother.

The proposed bill would allow a woman to have an abortion without the consent of the father and if she can give a reason why carrying the child to birth would endanger her life, rather than requiring a doctor's certification of a dangerous medical condition. If approved, the law can be used as legal grounds for more abortions, especially among teenagers.

Source:, Jan 23, 2003

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