Ethical and legal issues in contraception
- It is the responsibility of the government to provide contraception and family planning education to its citizen.
- Article 5 of the Malaysian Federal Constitution provides that no person shall be deprived of his life or personal liberty save in accordance with law.
- It emphasises the importance of respecting the privacy of individuals, including confidentiality of medical and other personal information.
- Nonetheless, local cultural believes and religion play an important influence in shaping laws and practices in our society.
- WHO guidelines: adolescents should be able to seek contraceptive services without having to obtain permission from parents or guardians.
- However, such recommendation could not be applied freely here as according to the Ministry of Health guidelines(and section 2 of the Child Act 2001) , consent for treatment to a minor (below 18) must be obtained from his/her parents prior to prescribing any forms of contraception.
Malaysia and WHO context
- Similarly, Malaysia has a parallel judicial system of shariah courts and it was decreed (fatwa) that although it is permissible for Muslim women to practice contraception and family planning, she however, is advisable to seek prior consent from her husband.
- Conversely, WHO recommended women should be able to request services without having to obtain authorisation from their husbands.
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