The Catholic Bishops of Sri Lanka against the decriminalization of abortion The Episcopal Conference invites the faithful and the politicians to oppose the government proposals

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The Episcopal Conference of Sri Lanka, island State off the coast of south-eastern India known with the name of Ceylon, has issued a statement to all Catholics to oppose the decision of the government of Kotte (Sri Lankan capital in the district of Colombo) to legalise abortion. The request made by the body of Catholic Bishops (Cbcsl) is also directed to Sri Lankans Catholic politicians.

In these months, in fact, the national media reported some news on the imminence of a law that reduces the penalties against procured abortion present in the penal code of Sri Lanka, a country of 21 million inhabitants with Buddhist (70.2%) and Hindu (12.6%) majority. Christianity represents 7.8% of the population; the majority is Catholic and 1 % is Protestant.

“After having heard of the intention of the government in July-August 2016 we decided to send a message (dated 18 August) to the Ministry of Justice to express our disagreement”, the Bishops told Fides.

As a response, the ministry has sent a letter (dated 22 August) in which he stated that “these measures have not yet been considered” and that “it is not a question of the relevance for the government and therefore it is not considered as urgent or of particular importance’. But the bishops report the news broadcasted by the media (such as the Daily Mirror of 20 January) that clarify how the ministry is making efforts to legalize certain types of abortion, such as those due to rape or incest.

The Bishops urged the faithful to “pray to expiate this initiative to legalize the freedom to end the life of an innocent who is not able to defend himself while he or she is in the womb. God is the sole author of life and Him alone may decide on the end of it.”

In conclusion, the Conference cites the apostolic exhortation Amoris Letitiae of Pope Francis published last year: “It is important for that child to feel wanted. He or she is not an accessory or a solution to some personal need. A child is a human being of immense worth and may never be used for one’s own benefit. So it matters little whether this new life is convenient for you, whether it has features that please you, or whether it fits into your plans and aspirations. For “children are a gift. Each one is unique and irreplaceable… We love our children because they are children, not because they are beautiful, or look or think as we do, or embody our dreams. We love them because they are children. A child is a child”.

A report drawn up in 2016 by the Ministry of National Health has attested that every day in this country are conducted approximately 658 legal abortions. According to Chithramali de Silva, director of the section of the mental health of the Ministry of Health, every year in Sri Lanka 400,000 women become pregnant and, out of these, 15,000 resort to illegal abortions and 10 of them die every year as a result of complications.

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