According to a report by The Daily Express Malaysia, a 22-year-old woman was brought to trial on September 29 for terminating her pregnancy sighting joblessness as the reason. It is believed to be the first such case.
The unemployed woman in Kota Kinabalu admitted guilt before Magistrate Wan Farrah Farriza Wan Ghazali for deliberately using medication to induce an abortion with the intention of preventing the birth of a live child or causing its death after birth. This incident occurred on July 4 of this year, at 9:30 PM, in a rented room located in Sadong Jaya.
However, the court has postponed the sentencing until November 2, pending the preparation of a social report for the accused, given that she was 21 years old at the time of the offence. The charges against the woman fall under Section 315 of the Penal Code, which carries a potential punishment of up to 10 years in prison, a fine, or both upon conviction.
In the earlier stages of the case, during the presentation of the case details, the prosecution informed the court that a report had been lodged by a doctor at the Women and Children Hospital in Likas. The report was regarding a female patient who was 25 weeks pregnant and subsequently gave birth in the maternity ward. Preliminary investigations revealed that the woman had arrived at the hospital with complaints of abdominal pain, and it was during her treatment that her pregnancy was discovered to be at 25 weeks.
Shortly after her arrival, the woman gave birth to a premature baby boy weighing 800 grams, who tragically passed away an hour later due to heart complications. Further inquiries uncovered that the woman had engaged in sexual activity with her fiancé several months before relocating to the city for work. Her irregular menstrual cycle had prevented her from realising her pregnancy until the end of June.
The court learned that on July 4, the woman had purchased three pills with the intention of terminating her pregnancy due to her anxiety and fear of embarrassment if her family were to discover her situation. She consumed one of the pills and inserted the other two into her private parts, resulting in severe abdominal pain. She sought medical attention at Likas Hospital the following day, accompanied by her fiancé.
The accused was represented by Duty counsel Lim Ming Zoong, who emphasised that she was 21 years old at the time of the incident, making her a youthful offender. He requested the preparation of a social report for her. The prosecution suggested bail be set at RM2,500 with one surety.
Consequently, the court granted bail to the accused, setting it at RM2,500 with one surety, pending the upcoming court date.
Malaysia Abortion Laws
The Penal Code of Malaysia contains provisions that criminalise abortion. Section 312 to Section 316 of the Penal Code addresses offences related to causing a miscarriage or the death of an unborn child. These sections generally make it an offence to intentionally cause a miscarriage or harm to a pregnant woman that results in miscarriage or the death of the unborn child.
Abortion may be permitted under Malaysian law if it is performed to save the life of the pregnant woman.
Suggested Reading: Mexico Decriminalises Abortion: A Win For Reproductive Rights