The statement below was released by the laity of Sri Lanka to voice public support for decriminalizing abortion in some limited cases. It was created in reaction to the official stance taken by the Church hierarchy in Sri Lanka who intervened to stop decriminalization, condemning women and families to further suffer from the consequences of botched illegal abortions. 
Over 100 Sri Lankan Catholics have signed this statement

Statement from concerned members of the Catholic community in support of amending Penal Code No. 2 of 1883 and Code of Criminal Procedure Act No. 15 of 1979 for purposes of extending permitted instances of medical termination of pregnancy.

     We, the undersigned members of the Catholic community, support the proposed amendments that will expand abortion provisions in cases of rape, incest, and serious foetal impairment. The amendments do not compel anyone to have an abortion nor does it permit abortion in general. Rather, it simply decriminalizes procuring an abortion in two very limited cases. Criminalization of abortion does not prevent abortion but drives women to seek dangerous illegal abortions1.


     I am not a theologian nor a reproductive health expert. I am merely a lay woman, a member of the Catholic church in Sri Lanka, responding to recent articles published by members of my own religious community regarding the bill to expand safe abortion provisions. This article is written for the sake of balanced perspective and healthy, constructive debate within our community. We must take a step back and look at exactly whose lives we are protecting with our attitudes towards this bill.

Protection of the Family and Its Members

The cosigners welcome the Resolution A/HRC/26/11 on the Protection of the Family, particularly in view of the central role of this institution as “the fundamental group of society and the natural environment for the growth and wellbeing of all its members and particularly children”. The spirit of the Resolution proclaiming this fact echoes the words of Pope Francis, “the family is the fundamental cell of society, where we learn to live with others despite our differences and to belong to one another.”

It is true that today’s families are burdened by many social and cultural challenges, including:

A meeting of the synod -extraordinary general assembly in October 2014 and ordinary assembly in 2015- has been announced on the topic : Pastoral challenges to the family... the preparatory document has been published to allow the Global Church to be consulted, to allow all members of the People of God to contribute to the reflections and orientations.