Referring to Newsletter Issue No. 12 in relation to the Health Bill, the new Health Law No. 36 of 2009 was finally issued on 13 October 2009.
Under the Health Law, mothers must breastfeed their babies exclusively from birth until 6 months old. It is expected that family members, the Government, Regional Governments and communities will support lactating mothers by providing time and space for them to breastfeed their babies in work places and public areas. This requirement is in line with 2 joint regulations issued in 2008 by the State Minister of Women’s Empowerment and the Minister of Labour and Transmigration together with the Minister of Health.
Any party intentionally obstructing breastfeeding is liable to imprisonment for up to one year and a fine of up to Rp. 100,000,000. If this unlawful act is committed by a corporation, the fine can be tripled. In addition, the business license and/or legal entity status of the corporation can be revoked.
Another topic discussed in the Health Law is abortion. The old Health Law stated that in the event of emergency and to save the mother and baby’s life, a specific medical procedure, for example termination, can be performed. However, the new Health Law allows an abortion if a woman becomes pregnant as a result of rape causing her to suffer psychological trauma. Termination is only permitted after the mother has attended counseling with a competent and certified counselor.
Also under the new Health Law, the Government is obliged to ascertain the supply of generic medicines to the public so that members of the public can easily purchase and afford the medicine they need.
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