Induced abortion in Sri Lanka: links between the use of traditional contraceptive methods and unwanted pregnancy

Weraduwage I. De Silva, University of Colombo

Although induced abortion is illegal in Sri Lanka, the estimated incidence per year is about 175,000. Contraceptive use and reasons for procuring termination were studied in 405 clients selected from two abortion clinics in Colombo. The majority of the clients were Buddhists, and small proportions were Christians/Muslims. Almost all had some formal education, but only 20% were employed. Majority were aged 30 or over, while adolescents constituted only 3%. About 95% were currently married and at the peak of childbearing age. Fourteen per cent were nulliparous, and about two-thirds had one or two living children at the time of obtaining abortion. It was a repeat abortion for one-third of the women. The majority of the clients were using traditional contraception at the time they suspected pregnancy. Common reason cited for the abortion was 'pregnancy too soon after previous delivery', 'no more children desired' or 'curtailment of opportunity for foreign employment'.

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Presented in Poster Session 1