I support the proposed amendment to the abortion law
We support the process currently underway in cabinet to present the amendment to the abortion law that will allow abortions in two instances:

1. When the mother carries a foetus with Lethal Congenital Malformation.
2. When a woman becomes pregnant as a result of rape.

We urge the government to bring this before parliament, and we request ALL parliamentarians to support these amendments, across party lines. The current abortion law does not allow abortions unless caused in good faith for the purpose of saving the life of the woman.

This is grossly inadequate, and forces victims of rape and incest, some as young as twelve, to see their pregnancy through the full term. The physical and psychological trauma that victims of rape and incest undergo is unacceptable and against the democratic principles of the Sri Lanka that celebrates the right to equality. Daughters who suffer incestuous rape by their fathers should not be forced to carry their sibling to full term in Sri Lanka.

The health complications, economic challenges, and quality of life issues that families face due to children who are born with severe foetal abnormalities are often disregarded. The socio-economic realities for many in Sri Lanka do not allow for the levels of care and support required, and the resulting quality of life, sometimes for a brutally short period due to the foetal abnormality, is extremely poor.

The reports of 700(1) plus abortions a day in Sri Lanka underpin our reality. Most of these are carried out in unsafe and unhygienic conditions giving rise to severe health complications such as septic abortions, infertility, and in some adverse circumstances, death. According to the Family Health Bureau in 2012(2) , maternal deaths due to septic abortions were the THIRD HIGHEST cause (13%) for maternal deaths in Sri Lanka.

Terminating a pregnancy is not a question of morality, it underpins womens’ and girl’s right to make an informed decision whether to proceed with a pregnancy or not. Therefore we urge all citizens to show support to the Ministry of Health and government by lobbying with their respective members of parliament to pass the amendments to expand our current abortion law.

1. Abeykoon A.T.P.L, Estimates of abortion rates in Sri Lanka using Bongaarets Model of Proximate Determinants of Fertility: 4-5

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