Buddhist, Muslim and Christian Religious Leaders United to Oppose Legalizing Abortion in Sri Lanka

International   |   Micaiah Bilger   |   Sep 26, 2017   |   11:38AM   |   Washington, DC

A diverse group of religious leaders joined together this month to support rights for unborn babies in the south Asian country of Sri Lanka.

Abortions are illegal except to save the mother’s life in Sri Lanka, but abortion activists are pushing the government to legalize the killing of unborn babies.

UCA News reports Buddhist, Muslim and Christian leaders in the country are working together to oppose a new bill that would make abortions legal for unborn babies conceived in rape or those with fatal fetal anomalies.

During a Congress of Religions meeting Sept. 14 in the capital of Colombo, the religious leaders expressed their strong opposition to the bill.

Most major world religions teach that unborn babies deserve to be protected from abortion. However, because religious teachings and interpretations vary, there are sects in many religions that support abortion as well.

According to the report:

Venerable Bellanwila Wimalarathana Thero, said that according to Buddhist doctrine abortion constitutes the taking of a human life.

The Buddhist monk, even if a fetus was diagnosed with a lethal congenital malformation, abortion was still contrary to Buddhist teachings.

“No mercy killings are permitted,” Wimalarathana Thero said …

He added that some forms of birth control were acceptable if a mother was unable to safely have another baby due to her own health problems.

[Catholic] Cardinal Malcolm Ranjith said rather than trying to liberalize abortion laws, the government should be looking for other approaches.

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He believed that should include providing “sound” sex education programs so that young people did not engage in irresponsible sex leading to unexpected births.

Muslim leader Ash-Sheikh Fazil Farook also expressed his opposition to the bill, saying the Quran teaches that unborn babies’ lives should be protected.

International abortion activists are trying to justify the legislation by claiming that there are as many as 600 illegal abortions every day in the country. They linked 10 percent to 12 percent of maternal deaths to botched abortions and claimed legalizing abortion would help protect women’s health, according to the report.

In 2014, a United Nations Population Fund report recommended making abortions legal in countries like Sri Lanka “to reduce maternal mortality when no evidence exists of a link between the two. Ireland, Chile and Sri Lanka outlaw abortion and are global and regional leaders in preventing maternal mortality,” according to the Catholic Family and Human Rights Institute.

Sri Lanka stands out as having one of the lowest maternal mortality rates in Asia. Notably, other countries with very low maternal mortality rates include Ireland and Chile, which also prohibit abortions.