The southeast Asian country of Malaysia was a British colony until it gained independence in 1957. Malaysia consists of a mainland portion bordering Thailand and Singapore, and the northern one-third of the island of Borneo that borders Brunei and Indonesia. With a population of 27.7 million (2008 estimate), it has a birth rate of 22.9 per 1,000 and an infant mortality rate of 17.2 per 1,000 live births. Abortion is legal only to save the woman's life or preserve her mental and physical health.

The original inhabitants of west Malaysia were the Orang Asli, and the Penan, the Iban, and other groups in east Malaysia. Many still follow animist traditions, living in village communities with extended families wherever possible, able to assist mothers with birthing and ...

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