Written by Diyana Khairron
Elective abortion that is the elective termination of pregnancy by women’s own request and desire is unjustly takes the life of an innocent human being and it is a moral wrong either through science, history and human rights. Whereas from science concluded that the pre-born is human. Abortion says some humans are not persons while from history stated that we must not separated humanity from personhood and human rights says that the pre-born has the right to life.
Not only that abortion is a moral wrong, but it also has the after effect where many potential complications have been associated with abortion. Nevertheless, though that it is a moral wrong, yet many women are somehow conflicting and be relate to as they are two different kind of perspective that cause the conflicting towards abortion issues as both are clearly being separated into “Pro-Life, the right to give life’ and “Pro-Choice”: The right to take life.
While abortion is a never ending issues as different people have different perspective about it. Not to mention, the women who are in desperate position to do abortion. Thus, all of this will result in different action. Due to that, abortion issues has been chosen in comparing how the local media and international media portray the issues and to what extend.
The local media to look upon to for abortion issue is Utusan Online. Utusan online is the online version of Utusan Malaysia printed newspaper and it is a Malay language newspaper published in Malaysia. Utusan Malaysia was first published as Utusan Melayu in romanised (Jawi) version in 1939. In the year of 1997 is the launch of “Utusan Malaysia On-Line”, it is the Malaysia’s first Online Newspaper in full text and visuals. The service is provided in collaboration with Telekom Malaysia, enables pay-subscribers to read online. While for the international media chosen is the online version of ‘The Guardian’. The Guardian is a British national daily newspaper. It was first known as The Manchester Guardian until 1959, and now known as ‘The Guardian’. In recent 2009-2010, the Guardian has significantly developed and expanded its digital operations. Guardian News & Media announced plans to become a digital-first organization, placing open journalism on the web at the heart of its strategy.
Throughout the comparison it has come upon that the local media do play its role effectively by being very proactive and committed in disseminating issue on abortion and explicitly to tell that abortion is a moral wrong and clearly stated the consequences the doers will have to face if commit such act.
Nevertheless, it can be seen that both media has done great work in portraying the issues of abortion and has fulfilling their media responsibility as the fourth estate successfully. However, there are significant difference in how both medias portray the issues. These may be due to different of government policy, religion believe and culture.
As for the local media, Utusan Online has shown its ability to transmit implicit or hidden message and knowledge through its news reporting on the article of “Pengguguran – Bukan cara merancang keluarga” posted on 9th August 2005 which further explains that abortion does not only happen among teenagers or women who are pregnant as a result of adultery, but also happen among the married women who do not want the child she carries. Based on this article, Utusan Online has successfully deliver information that maybe most of Malaysian people do not aware about as we usually may think that abortion only become a problem among the unmarried women who became pregnant, but it turns out abortion also occur among the married women and perhaps this matter can be highlighted as it should not be happening among the married couple.
Utusan Online also has reported many news articles on abortion. Among the news reported articles are “Pengguguran – Isu yang makin kiritikal” posted on 20th October 2016 that stated abortion is becoming more critical issue, but still this problem has been ignored. This article calls the people to be more concern on abortion issue and take this matter seriously.
Throughout this news article searching, it is discovered that Utusan Online has been very informative and effective in disseminating information not only on abortion cases that happened in Malaysia, but as well as letting the public know the after effect of it and how the situation really is in Malaysia. With all the reported articles, it should have given the people in Malaysia the awareness to act and do something in order to avoid abortion from continually happen among the Malaysian especially the teenagers.
Towards the legal practices, Utusan Online has reported one article of “Gugur bayi penjara tujuh tahun” that stated the offender of abortion will be sentenced to prison for 7 years. This is because from the legal perspective, the act of abortion is very serious as it causes death. Not only that, the legal practices in Malaysia also stated that abortion cannot be done without reasonable reason. This in a way to tell the people the consequences of abortion and in what situation only abortion is allowed to be make.
In the matter of religion aspect, the local media, Utusan Online is discovered to not have that much news reporting article on abortion issue that relates with religion sentiment. This may due to that Islam is the official religion in Malaysia and the fact that Islam forbidden the act of abortion unless it threatens the life of the mother. Therefore, people in Malaysia know that elective abortion is not allowed. However, there are news reporting articles on “Pegguguran – Bukan cara merancang keluarga” posted on 9th August 2005 translated as “Abortion is not a way for family planning” and “Akses mudah lakukan pengguguran” posted on 27th April 2011 translated as “Easy access to do abortion” stressed that abortion is clearly stated as illegal in Islam and is considered as a great sin.
Utusan Online has also posted another article towards the recent case of Zika with abortion titled “Subra: No abortions allowed for Zika-infected pregnant mothers” posted on 6th September 2016, whereas in the articlet, the Malaysia Health Minister Datuk Dr S. Subramaniamsaid that he welcomed Federal Territories Mufti Datuk Dr Zulkifli Mohamad Al-Bakri’s approval for abortion in such cases but said that the law only allows abortion if the mother’s life is at risk and not the child’s. According to him again, this is what is allowed in our system which had taken into consideration the religious stand and reminded all that not all pregnant mothers infected with Zika would end up delivering babies with disabilities. Thru this article, we can see see how religious sentiment is being taking into account, even though the law of abortion in religion aspect has been known. This has showed the effort of Utusan Online in giving awareness to the public on the dangerous of abortion and support the people to avoid abortion.
It is also discovered that Utusan Online has been transparent in reporting news regarding abortion. This can be seen when Utusan Online provided the exact and real image of death fetus in most of news reporting on abortion. Another article of “Akses mudah lakukan pengguguran” posted on 27th April 2016 showed how the local media, Utusan Online has shown transparency as the content of the article is stated in a form of conversation between a doctor and the writer. The conversation is the original conversation between a doctor and an offender in which writer disguised as a woman who want to make an abortion. The conversation includes the explanation of abortion process, several ways that are made available for abortion in most of the private clinics in Malaysia and the fee charged.
Based on the above mentioned article, it can be assumed that it is very easy to make an abortion and women can even choose which way they like and comfortable with. This has indirectly acted as an additional information for those who never knew that there are privates’ clinics out there that run a service like this. This may even lead for more abortion as people have known that there are places to do abortion. However, if we look at the perspective ways, Utusan Online is actually trying to tell people by emphasizing on the fact that it is just so easy to get medical help for abortion from private clinics, therefore, parents and community should be alert on this matter and be more cautious especially on their teenagers and to never think that in this era, the youngs will not dare to reach to this level as cases of abortion is getting increased.
Moving to international media, it is found that there are not much cases on abortion reported by The Guardian. Therefore, it may be indefinite for the people to see what is the current situation is like. Though the international people especially in UK have more freedom in speech and they do fight for what they believe in which some are pro right which accept abortion and some are pro life which go against the abortion. They do get to voice out their opinion, but it would have been better if cases of abortion are being reported in public so that the public are aware. However, this may be not that crucial to them as abortion is legal in the UK, therefore, it may seem like it is not such a big critical issue.
In term of legal perspective, abortion is legal in England up to 24 weeks under the Abortion Act 1967. However, if there is a substantial risk to the woman’s life or fetus abnormalities, there is no time limit. There is also no age limit for treatment. This legal aspect that has been portrayed has lead to the situation in the article by The Guardian that stated “Irish woman live-tweets journey for abortion in Great Britain” posted on 20 August 2016. This shows how the people in other country willingly and excited to come to Britain to do the abortion to the extend to live-tweets the actions due to abortion is legal in UK.
In the perspective of political, there is political influence through the article of “Why It Matters: Abortion in U.S. presidential race” posted on 17th October 2016. It is known that the United State of America is among the country that hold the biggest power in the world, therefore somehow, what happen in the U.S.A does matter and may affect another country as well. In this article, the democrat Hillary Clinton supports access to abortion, while Trump been inconsistent but now appears against abortion. This article highlighting and examining the issue at stake in the presidential election and how they affect people whereby if it is a Clinton victory, it could strengthen the court’s current 5-3 majority that supports abortion rights and this will be supported by the people who are pro right. While if it is a Trump win who is a pro life and against the abortion could lead to a reconfigured court that would uphold tough state laws restricting abortion and possibly consider overturning Roe V. Wade, the 1973 decision that established a nationwide right to abortion.
Further on religion sentiment, one of the reason why the Northern Ireland’s abortion laws are different to the rest of the United Kingdom is due to its religious belief in which Northern Ireland’s status as the most religious part of the UK. Therefore, though abortion is legal in Northern Ireland but only under strict criteria and actually has never applied in Northern Ireland. Perhaps because of abortion is legal in UK, there is not much cases that have been reported by The Guardian. According to this one article in which The Guardian classify as Northern Ireland’s shame, titled “Northern Ireland woman takes NHS to court over abortion law” posted on 2rd November 2016. This article mentioned about a Northern Irish teenager who as a fifteen year old had to go to England to terminate a pregnancy, and is challenging the NHS’s refusal to fund abortions for women from the region in the supreme court. However, the health service has so far refused to pay for abortions for women from Northern Ireland who travel to England for terminations. This can be concluded that though abortion is legal, however, the desperate action taken by the people to do abortion is viewed as a shame.
Finally, The Guardian has been found to be transparent and fair by reporting any view and event on every parties as well as individual. Most of the news reporting articles display the protest rally made by the women in the United Kingdom as to preserve their rights to do abortion.
In overall, the local media, Utusan Online has the inclination to use the approach of persuading the people to not do abortion by keep updating on abortion cases happen in Malaysian and keep reminding the people on the religious and law perspective as well as the after effect of abortion. These approaches are alternately being used in news reporting so that to put public on the alarm state and ne aware of the issue.
While for the international media, they are more lenient and reports views and event on different party or individual as they have greater freedom in speech and that the law they hold legalize abortion. They also are very transparent and fair in delivering the message even when involving the politicians as they let the public to decide.
Therefore, both local both local media, presented by The Star Online and international media, presented by The Guardian has successfully fulfil their duty as the fourth estate for abortion issues.
The Guardian. (2016, October 17). WHY IT MATTERS: Abortion in U.S. presidential race.
Retrieved from The Guardian: http://www.theguardian.pe.ca/news/2016/10/17/why-it-matters-abortion-in-u-s-preside-4664752.html
The Guardian. (2016, August 20). rish woman live-tweets journey for abortion in Great
Britain. Retrieved from The Guardian: https://www.theguardian.com/world/2016/aug/20/irish-woman-live-tweets-journey-for-abortion-in-britain
The Guardian. (2016, November 2). Northern Ireland woman takes NHS to court over abortion law. Retrieved from https://www.theguardian.com/world/2016/nov/02/northern-ireland-nhs-abortions-supreme-court-law
Utusan Online. (2005, August 9). Pengguguran – Bukan cara merancang keluarga. Retrieved
Utusan Online. (2003, October 20). Pengguguran – Isu yang makin kritikal. Retrieved from Utusan Online: http://ww1.utusan.com.my/utusan/info.asp?y=2003&dt=1020&pub=Utusan_Malaysia&sec=Keluarga&pg=ke_05.htm
Utusan Online. (2011, April 27). Gugur bayi penjara tujuh tahun. Retrieved from Utusan
Utusan Online. (2011, April 27). Akses mudah lakukan pengguguran Oleh MARIATUL QATIAH ZAKARIA. Retrieved October 23, 2016, from Utusan Online: http://ww1.utusan.com.my/utusan/info.asp?y=2011&dt=0427&pub=Utusan_Malaysia&sec=Keluarga&pg=ke_01.htm