November 06, 2014
Neighbors think it is some sort of youth activities center. The unmarked modest farmhouse surrounded by lush rice paddies sits in relative isolation along a straight and narrow lane on the outskirts of this Javanese city famed as a center of learning. A sinewy young man guards the entrance. Inside, a windowless room equipped with two laptops, four smartphones and a whiteboard serves as the command center.
“We’re pretty sure the government knows of our existence,” said Emilda Rizky, “but they don’t want to take any action against us.” Rizky, hair clipped stylishly short and wearing jeans, is the spokeswoman for Samsara, a small volunteer organization that provides the only abortion counseling service in Indonesia, a country with highly restrictive abortion laws and harsh penalties for violators.