Sri Lanka Women’s Bill Promotes Contraception and Abortion

SRI LANKA, June 2, 2004 ( - Sri Lankans have expressed serious concerns with a February 2004 draft Bill on Women’s Rights.  The bill, introduced by the Sri Lankan National Committee on Women, employs ambiguous and misleading terminology that allows for the promotion of contraception and abortion.  Clauses in the bill use popular abortion and contraceptives rights terminology, including stating that women “shall enjoy. . . the right to control their bodies, and rights in relating to child birth.”

The Bill comes in the wake of calls by the Family Planning Association of Sri Lanka (FPASL), an active wing of the International Planned Parenthood Federation, for legalization of abortion.  The Sri Lankan government, which subsidizes all contraceptives, has worked closely with the FPSAL and other groups on population control efforts.  The Health Ministry chose FPSAL to implement a 2002 plan to popularize the use of condoms.  The Ministry of Education worked closely with the FPSA to implement a sex education and ‘reproductive health’ program in schools.  Dr. Sriani Basnayake, a longtime medical director of FPASL, founded and directed the program.  She is currently a member of the National Committee on Women.  Letters can be addressed to the Sri Lanka Minister of the Women’s Ministry at:  Mrs. Sumedha Jayasinghe Ministry of Women’s Empowerment 177 Nawala Road Colombo 5 Sri Lanka   To E-mail the Prime Minister:  [email protected]

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