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Sale of contraceptives targeted in Indonesia's proposed new penal code
Jakarta Globe - August 29, 2015
Article 481 of the draft threatens to impose a maximum fine of Rp 10 million ($700) on anyone promoting the sale of "devices to prevent pregnancy." Another article, 483, adds however that the provision does not apply to Health Ministry activities and those of family planning officials.
"This is overcriminalization," Institute for Criminal Justice Reform executive director Supriyadi Widodo Eddyono said of the proposed revision.
The proposed new penal code has already come under fire for its attempted criminalization of adultery and cohabitation, both of which are frowned upon by large segments of Indonesian society but are not in themselves illegal in most parts of the country.
According to Supriyadi, the draft focuses too much on morality issues. "Citizens can easily be penalized," he said, "even offering contraceptive materials can be penalized."
The revision has however gained the support from the National Family Planning Coordinating Board (BKKBN), a government institution. "[Condoms] are sold freely in supermarkets, out in the open," BKKBN deputy chief Julianto Witjaksono told KBR radio on Friday. "People can just buy them. What if they are bought by teenagers?"
Julianto stressed that people should only be able to buy prophylactics through strictly government-controlled programs at selected clinics. "It should only be available in [state-owned] clinics so people cannot sell condoms in inappropriate places," he said.
Miko Ginting, a researcher from the Legal and Policy Study Center (PSHK), said the government and the House of Representatives should just start over with the revision of the Criminal Code, focusing first and foremost on general crimes like murder and theft.
"Special crimes like human rights abuses and corruption have their own laws," Miko said. "Don't let this revision override these special laws."
It is not the first attempt in Indonesia at limiting condom sales. In June, lawmakers in Bengkulu were also working on a directive to limit the sale of contraceptives, arguing that the availability of such items leads to higher rates of pre- and extramarital sex.
A member of the provincial legislature said at the time that the move was necessary to curb the spread of HIV, arguing that without access to condoms, more young people would remain sexually abstinent until they get married.