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Why is it essential to amend the abortion law in Sri Lanka?: a medico-legal perspective on criminal abortions and victimization

Author:

Ayodhya Prabhashini Rathnayake

Supreme Court of Sri Lanka, LK
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Abstract

‘Pregnancy’ is considered a gift to a woman, and simultaneously becomes a risk which influences life. Complications of pregnancy may affect a woman a great deal. ‘Abortion’ is a process where there is premature expulsion of a fetus from the uterus. This may occur naturally or as a result of wilful termination. Wilful termination of a pregnancy or ‘Criminal abortion’ is illegal in Sri Lanka but is performed by abortionists against the law of the country. In Sri Lanka, abortion is legal if it is to save the life of the mother, but it becomes criminal when it is performed for other purposes. The Penal code (Amendment) bill 1995, proposed the legalization of abortions in instances where the victim is a prey of a sex crime such as rape, incest or where the fetus is impaired. However, the proposal was not sanctioned. High rate of criminal abortions occurs, especially in developing countries. It is clear that, with the enforcement of strict abortion laws in a country, the rate of criminal abortions rise and less restrictive abortion laws impede the ‘back door abortionists’. This paper discusses the nature of criminal abortions, the legal conditions pertaining to the jurisdictions in the world, and the concept of victimization.
How to Cite: Rathnayake, A.P., 2019. Why is it essential to amend the abortion law in Sri Lanka?: a medico-legal perspective on criminal abortions and victimization. Sri Lanka Journal of Forensic Medicine, Science & Law, 10(1), pp.2–7. DOI: http://doi.org/10.4038/sljfmsl.v10i1.7807
Published on 17 Jul 2019.
Peer Reviewed

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