The Immorality of Morality-Based Sexual Health Care: Populist Morality and Universal Health Coverage in Indonesia

Sharyn Davies

School of Social Sciences at AUT , , New Zealand

In 2014, Indonesia introduced a Universal Health Care system, the largest such scheme in the world. A key question is how Indonesia ensures people can access sexual and reproductive health care. This question is critically important given Indonesia is on the verge of passing a law criminalising all sex outside of marriage. If passed, anyone presenting with sexually transmitted infections (STI) will be suspected of involvement in criminal activity (e.g. them or their partner having sex outside of marriage). In this environment, preventing transmission of HIV and STIs becomes increasingly difficult. In exploring these issues, I argue Indonesia must give significant attention to how Universal Health Coverage can prevent the transmission of HIV and STIs. More precisely, I argue that Indonesia’s populist morality movement is making it difficult to address sexual and reproductive health care through Universal Health Coverage, and that in fact morality-based health care provision is immoral.


Bio to come.


The Asian Studies Association of Australia (ASAA) is the peak body of university experts and educators on Asia in Australia. Established in 1976, we promote and support the study of Asia in Australian universities and knowledge of Asia among the broader community. Our membership is drawn mainly from academics and students, but also includes industry and government Asia experts. We take a strong interest in promoting knowledge about Asia in schools and in contributing to state and Commonwealth government policies related to Asia. We provide informed comment on Asia to a broad public through our bulletin, Asian Currents, and specialist research articles in our journal, Asian Studies Review. Four book series published under our auspices cover Southeast Asia, South Asia, East Asia and Women in Asia.

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