Jun 26, Colombo: The Sri Lankan government's attempts to amend the country's abortion laws have run into the opposition by the church, a government official has said Tuesday.
Sumithra Rahubadda, Secretary to the Ministry of Child Development and Women's Affairs has told Xinhua that amid the rapid increase of illegal abortions and incidents of rapes, the government has taken measures to ease the abortion laws but the opposition from the church has become a snag.
"However opposition by the leaders of the country's 7 percent Christians has become a problem," the official was quoted as saying.
Abortion is illegal in Sri Lanka and only allowed when the pregnancy or child birth is life threatening to the mother. However illegal abortions are performed in large numbers by untrained people under unhygienic conditions.
Although no official figures are available it is estimated that around 1,000 cases of illegal abortions are taking place in a day in Sri Lanka.
As the issue has become a serious health concern for the country, the government is now considering allowing legal abortion for certain cases.
Under the amended law abortions will be permitted in the case of underage rape, underage victims of incest by family members or blood relatives and of fetuses with severe abnormalities.
The official has noted that there is a rapid increase in incidents of underage girls being raped.
"Mothers going to Middle Eastern country for jobs leaving their young daughters behind and large number of widows after years of war have worsened this situation," she has said.
Ministry of Child Development and Women's Affairs along with the Ministries of Health and Justice has prepared the bill which has been sent to the Attorney General for approval.
The Ministry is determined to go on with the amendments and stated that the law will soon be presented to the parliament, Xinhua reported.