Abortion – Where is Sri Lanka On The Spectrum?
“If you are not in favour of legal abortion, then you are in favour of illegal abortion” - Prof. Arulkumaran
On October 28, 2012, Savita Halappanavar, a young Indian dentist, died in Ireland due to a septic miscarriage. This created major uproar in Ireland because she had requested an abortion at an earlier stage in the pregnancy but was denied her request because the medical team did not judge her life to be in danger (the law in Ireland was that an abortion could only be granted if the mother’s life was at risk). The campaign that followed culminated in a referendum in Ireland earlier this year, where nearly two in three Irish voters opted to change the current law. The referendum also saw the highest turnout for a ballot on social issues. The amendment that is currently being discussed will allow for terminations in the first 12 weeks of the pregnancy, and up to 24 weeks for exceptional circumstances.
In November 2012, former President of the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists Professor Sabaratnam Arulkumaran, was appointed by the Ireland Health Services as the Chair of a panel inquiry into the death of Savita Halappanavar. Arulkumaran recently visited Sri Lanka, and on August 9 spoke at a discussion on unsafe abortions, organised by the Family Planning Association of Sri Lanka.