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Reading: "Her body, her right"?: interrogating the discourse on abortion in Sri Lanka


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"Her body, her right"?: interrogating the discourse on abortion in Sri Lanka


Carmen Wickramagamage

University of Peradeniya, Peradeniya, LK
About Carmen
Senior Lecturer, Department of English
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This paper calls attention to an issue, abortion, that requires the urgent attention of those interested in the reproductive health indicators of women. The author's investigation of the issue arises from three particular phenomena: a) the high incidence of back-alley abortions in Sri Lanka; b) the failed attempt in 1995 by the People's Alliance government to liberalise the restrictive law on abortion; and c) the media campaign of the Women's NGO Forum in 1999 to generated a public debate on the issue. The paper begins with an analysis of both how and why abortion has come to be such a key issue in discussions on and debates around women's rights and women's reproductive health across the globe and argues for considering it a vital reproductive health issue in Sri Lanka as well. It then critically interrogates the vocabulary deployed by the Women's NGO Forum to initiate a debate in Sri Lanka and proposes an alternative grammar of communication that might better suit the particular socio-cultural context and better address the issues at hand.
How to Cite: Wickramagamage, C., 2016. \"Her body, her right\"?: interrogating the discourse on abortion in Sri Lanka. Sri Lanka Journal of Social Sciences, 27(1), pp.17–59. DOI:
Published on 24 Oct 2016.
Peer Reviewed


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