Materia Medica Malaysiana

June 2, 2007

‘Illegal abortion’ probe under way

Filed under: Uncategorized — malaysianmedicine @ 9:50 am

NST: YONG PENG: State Health Department officers were sent here to investigate claims of a makeshift surgery room in a shoplot in Jalan Yong Peng-Air Hitam yesterday.
They found the premises, allegedly the site of illegally performed abortions, closed.
Also closed was a clinic two blocks away which employs the doctor who allegedly performs the illegal abortions.
It is understood that the clinic had opened for business as usual at 8am but was closed three hours later.
The officers, from the department’s Medical Practice Control Unit based in Johor Baru, arrived at 11.30am and found a notice pasted on the clinic’s aluminium grille stating that it would reopen on Monday.
“We are investigating the allegations and will submit the report to the Health Ministry for immediate action,” said a department spokesman.
The clinic, which offers X-ray services and claims to be a panel clinic for Fomema Sdn Bhd, has been operating for more than five years.
(Fomema is a company tasked with screening the health of foreign workers.)
The clinic is also being investigated under the Private Healthcare Facilities and Services Act 1998.
Yesterday, the New Straits Times reported that a shoplot sandwiched between a car accessory outlet and a workshop in a row of two-storey shop houses along Jalan Yong Peng-Air Hitam, contained a makeshift surgery room for illegal abortions done by a general medical practitioner.
Under the Penal Code, medical practitioners registered under the Medical Act 1971 are allowed to give an opinion in good faith to terminate a woman’s pregnancy. Otherwise, the abortion is deemed illegal.
Meanwhile, Malaysian Medical Association ethics committee chairman Dr Ravindran Jegasothy said a pregnant woman must give her consent to a doctor before she could undergo an abortion.
“Illegal abortions are usually carried out by non-medical practitioners under unsafe conditions and, therefore, puts a woman’s life at risk.
“Abortion is an issue debated in every country on moral and religious grounds.
“Some countries have banned abortion, some are more liberal, while Malaysia takes the middle approach on the issue by granting a law to allow medical practitioners to perform abortions under certain conditions,” he said.
Dr Ravindran said restrictive laws could cause women to opt for unsafe and dangerous abortion methods performed by untrained abortionists.
“There are many issues such as rape, incest and medical conditions which would lead a woman to come to the difficult decision to terminate her pregnancy. It is best to consult a doctor and get counseling before going for abortion,” he said.

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