For rape, incest, lethal congenital abnormalities

Doctors to make public appeal

The community of medical doctors in the country last week said they would make a collective appeal in public calling for abortion to be legalised in specific instances.

Accordingly, the doctors would carry out an advocacy campaign to enlist public to support for the legalization of abortion in specific cases including rape, incest and lethal congenital abnormalities.
Presently, abortion is lawful in Sri Lanka only in the instance where the expectant mother’s life is in danger. This should be expanded by way of recognizing pro-choice in the law.

Doctors specializing in maternal and child morbidity and mortality and perinatal health attached to the Ministry of Health’s Family Health Bureau said that a draft of a bill in this regard which had been prepared by professional bodies including those in the medical community had at present progressed to the level of a Cabinet memorandum and was at a stage where observations were being sought from relevant parties in relation to it.

A medical expert said that the draft of the Bill had been carefully prepared in such a manner that it did not create loopholes for abortions and had been presented to the Ministry of Justice, which is now pushing the matter forward.

A consultant community physician who wished to remain anonymous explained that the abortion would be done only during the first three months, only at the express wish of the affected person in question and under specific conditions.

The latter involves a panel of medical professionals deciding on the matter and also involves judicial officers such as magistrates being involved in the decision -making process and the process of granting approval and permission for such cases scrutinizing every aspect.

He added that they would go for a public appeal in the event of a backlash once the matter came to the forefront.