Lia Wanadriani Santosa, Jakarta – Women from the Social Coalition for Disabled People (KMPD) are calling on the public to stop the practice of forced contraception for people with disabilities, particularly women.
“It’s wrong if women with disabilities are seen as incapable of making a decision on whether to use or not use contraception”, said Indonesian Women’s Coalition (KPI) General Secretary Dian Kartika Sari during a break in the commemoration of International Women’s Day 2018 in Jakarta on Thursday March 8.
Dian said that there is a negative stigma that people with disabilities are incapable of being responsible for their own choices.
Yet it is the social environment surrounding them that is unable to provide reasonable support for people with disabilities so that they can obtain their rights, including the right to contraception.
Furthermore, forced contraception actually results in repeated sexual violence against people with disabilities because the risk of a pregnancy is absent.
Because of this therefore, Indonesian Mental Health Association (PJSI) chairperson Yeni Rosa Damayanti used the opportunity of IWD to call for the need for disabled people to have legal certainty to prevent them from being forced to use contraception.
“The one who decides on medical treatment is their guardian because they (the disabled person) are [deemed] not to have the legal capacity. It’s impossible for them to be able to refuse or accept contraception if their legal capacity is not acknowledged”, she said.
People with disabilities, she added, should obtain assistance in making their own decisions. “They should be assisted in making a decision. There are many ways to communicate, whether through pictures, gestures or other means. Their legal rights cannot be annulled on any grounds whatsoever”, said Yeni.
On the other hand, Dian also emphasised the importance of directly involving people with disabilities in efforts to discuss their interests whether it be in public discussions or discussions with the government.
“I am recommending to colleagues who are part of the disability [rights] movement to directly involve disabled people, because they are the ones who best understand [their needs]”, said Dian.
[Translated by James Balowski. The original title of the article was Jangan paksa penyandang disabilitas pasang alat kontrasepsi.]