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Perception on the abortion laws in Sri Lanka: A community based study in the city of Colombo

Authors:

M S Suranga ,

Family Planning Association, LK
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K T Silva,

University of Peradeniya, LK
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L Senanayake

Family Planning Association, LK
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Abstract

Introduction Abortion is legally permitted in Sri Lanka, only if it is performed to save the mother’s life. However, it is estimated that a large number of induced abortions take place in Sri Lanka. Knowledge and attitudes towards induced abortion in the society are key issues influencing the policy response towards changes in the law. This study aimed to assess the knowledge and attitudes of adults towards induced abortion in Sri Lanka.

Methods Six Grama Niladhari Divisions (GNDs) and five to eight housing clusters from each GND were selected from Thimbirigasyaya Divisional Secretariat Division using multi stage stratified random sampling. Fifty households were systematically selected from each GND. An interview was scheduled among 743 residents aged between 19 to 49 years of age after receiving written informed consent.

Results Only 11% of the respondents knew the situations in which abortion was legal in Sri Lanka. Approximately one tenth of the respondents (11%) did not agree with the current law which allows an induced abortion only to save the life of the mother. However, a majority agreed to legalization of abortion for rape (65%), incest (55%) and pregnancies with lethal fetal abnormalities (53%). Less than one tenth of respondents agreed with legalisation of induced abortion for other reasons such as con-traceptive failure (6%), poor economic conditions (7%) and, on request (4%).

Conclusions Although the society rejects abortion on request majority are in favour of allowing abortions for rape, incest and fetuses with lethal abnormalities.  

DOI: http://doi.org/10.4038/cmj.v61i4.8384
How to Cite: Suranga, M.S., Silva, K.T. & Senanayake, L., (2016). Perception on the abortion laws in Sri Lanka: A community based study in the city of Colombo. Ceylon Medical Journal. 61(4), pp.171–175. DOI: http://doi.org/10.4038/cmj.v61i4.8384
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Published on 30 Dec 2016.
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