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‘Abortion’ is one of the taboo topics in Sri Lanka. Our country, despite its many positive aspects, has a very bad habit of believing that if we do not talk about something, maybe it might go away. From LGBT to Gay Marriages to Sex outside marriage, Sri Lankans (especially the older generations) think that the less you talk about it the better.

This week, ‘For Your Information’ decided to highlight on the subject of abortion.

Many of the female population in Sri Lanka outside of Colombo live under the notion that abortion is ‘killing’ a child.

Abortion is generally illegal in Sri Lanka under the Penal Code of 1883 and provides that anyone voluntarily causing a woman with child to miscarry is subject to up to three years’ imprisonment and/or payment of a fine, unless the miscarriage was caused in good faith in order to save the life of the mother according to the United Nations.

A woman who induces her own miscarriage is subject to the same penalties. The Penal Code contains no procedural requirements for the legal termination of pregnancy, except that the pregnant woman’s consent is necessary. There are no provisions specifying the qualifications of those authorized to neither perform abortions nor the type of facilities in which the procedures are to be performed. A rural survey suggests that 54 abortions per 1,000 populations are performed each year.

A National survey conducted in 1999 reported an abortion rate of 45 per 1000 women in the 15 – 49 age groups. An alarming factor is the prevalence of induced abortion among married couples being 94%, with an abortion rate of 58 per 1000 among ever married women.

A woman who is undergoing an unwanted pregnancy has two options. Adoption or Abortion. However, despite the fact that abortion is illegal in Sri Lanka, it should be that the woman should have the right to her own body. If she does not want to be pregnant, it should be her choice to terminate the pregnancy.
Thus, here are some facts and myths about abortion For Your Information:

MYTH: Abortion is dangerous.
FACT: Over 99.75 percent of abortions
do not cause major medical problems.

MYTH: Women who get abortions will regret it, and are more likely to suffer mental health issues.
FACT: Most women will not regret their decision, and are no more likely to experience mental health problems than women who carry an unplanned pregnancy to term.

MYTH: A fetus experience pain during abortions.
FACT: A fetus cannot feel pain until
at least the 24th week of pregnancy.

MYTH: Women would never have abortions
if they knew what it was like to have a child.
FACT: Most women who have abortions are already mothers.

MYTH: Only selfish women have abortions.
FACT: This myth is built in sexism. Women who in some way choose to remain childless are constantly portrayed as being self-centered and uncaring. Getting an abortion is not a selfish decision.

MYTH: If abortion remains illegal, abortion will end.
FACT: Global research has shown that making abortion illegal doesn’t decrease the rate of  Abortions.  The only thing it changes is the safety of the procedure.