Abortion in Sri Lanka: What are your options?
Getting pregnant when one does not want to be can come to any girl or woman residing in any part of the world. However, not all women have access to safe and legal abortions.
Speaking of Sri Lanka, women are struggling with unwanted pregnancies and the following consequences. They are not alone in the race. Similar cases can be seen in many other countries like the UAE, Bahrain, Qatar, Kuwait, Bhutan, Oman and the list is long.
What are these women doing?
This post intends to help Sri Lankan women have access to safe and healthy abortion services. And so, we shall be discussing more options for these fellow women.
Most of the girls and women in Sri Lanka resort to unsafe backstreet abortions. This is because abortion rules in the country are highly restricted. Sri Lanka has one of the strictest abortion rules in the world.
The legal status of abortion in Sri Lanka:
Legal abortion is accessible only to married women when there is an immense threat to their life. An ongoing pregnancy poses a threat to the women’s life further needs valid proof from three medical practitioners. Otherwise in conditions of rape, incest, fetal deformities, abortion in Sri Lanka is not legal. And forget about contraceptive failure or a woman’s choice in the same.
Although, there has been some mobilization and rules may see revision, it is not very near. Seeking abortion is a matter to be dealt with within the first few weeks of pregnancy. But the rules may take years to change.
Moreover, if by any means abortion gets legal for rape cases, girls or women may need to prove that their pregnancy is a result of the same. This can be both physically and mentally traumatizing. Besides, these cases won’t go in fast track legal hearings. Hence, such girls and women do not see any hope.
Due to such restrictions on abortions and the lack of Comprehensive Abortion Care facilities in the countries, women are presenting themselves to unskilled abortion providers. Not only do they risk their health, bear the pain and complications, but they also risk their lives.
Unsafe abortions have been the leading cause of maternal mortality and morbidities in Sri Lanka.
Where do women go to seek post-abortion care in case of abortion complications?
Abortion complications are very common with unsafe practices. When women in such situations seek medical help, they have to face a lot of mental trauma.
Due to societal stigma, they receive rude comments and have to bear the harsh behavior of the medical fraternity. Doctors may treat them but with indifference. Nurses too may show bland behavior. Some of the questions such women usually undergo include:
“Why did you do this?”
“Did you not know that abortion in Sri Lanka is illegal? It is a crime and you should receive punishment.”
Women who get shaken by the fact of being asked such queries may not go to the right place. And hence, they may not even receive the post-abortion care that they need the most.
Going to the right place and seeking Comprehensive Abortion Care (CAC) at the best abortion hospital is very essential.
Let us discuss safe abortion options for Sri Lankan women in the neighboring country, India.
Abortion in India: What are your options?
India is the closest neighbor to Sri Lanka. Women and girls seeking abortion in Sri Lanka may not have it as a legal choice. But they do have if they choose to travel to India for a safe, legal and confidential abortion.
Abortion in India is legal and that too under a wide range of circumstances. Moreover, you can obtain a legal abortion in India even as a foreign woman. For this very reason, many foreign women from the Middle East countries and places like Dubai, Sharjah, Fujairah, Ras Al Khaimah, Doha, Muscat often visit India as a part of a short abortion trip.
And even you too can obtain a legal abortion in India. If you are reading this post, most likely you may be trying to figure out your best ways out of unwanted pregnancies. And we shall deliver you the same in just a matter of a few minutes. Keep reading further.
Abortion in India is available to women seeking the same for the reasons like:
- Contraceptive failure: This is one of the leading causes of an unexpected pregnancy. Although abortion in Sri Lanka is not available, you can choose to travel to India for terminating an unexpected pregnancy.
- Rape/Incest: Rapes are immoral acts that can hurt a woman or a girl both physically as well as mentally. Carrying forward a pregnancy resulting from such an act can have a long-lasting negative impact on a woman’s personal, physical, emotional, social as well as economic wellbeing. Indian abortion rules permit legal abortions for this reason.
- To protect a woman’s health and the life: You can obtain a legal abortion in India if the ongoing pregnancy poses a threat to your physical and/or mental health and/or life. Whereas, abortion in Sri Lanka is available on a legal validation by three doctors that the pregnancy is risking the woman’s life, not just health.
- Fetal deformities: Abortion in Sri Lanka is not available for this clause too. Whereas, it is accessible in India.
Seeing the safety of a woman’s health and life, abortion in India is legal for up to 20 weeks of gestation in normal circumstances. However, in some special cases, it is also allowable beyond this period.
So, if you are looking for your pregnancy termination options, do check for your Last Menstrual Period (LMP). It shall give you an idea of your most likely available abortion methods according to your pregnancy length.
Consent for an abortion:
If you are an adult, i.e., above 18 years, abortion in India is available for you only on your consent. You may choose not to involve any family member or partner in your abortion process.
You can obtain an abortion in India both as a married woman or an unmarried girl or even as a single woman.
One can face stigma not only attached to abortions but also for getting pregnant without marriage. There is a huge doubt and bureaucracy for pregnancies and abortions of unmarried girls in Sri Lanka. But you can choose to travel to India and visit a safe and confidential private abortion centre.
Some women in Sri Lanka who can afford an abortion often visit private clinics. They do get an abortion at a high cost. But they do not receive proper abortion care. Nor do they receive abortions with effective pain management or under safe anesthetic agents.
Where in India can you obtain a safe abortion?
Although the abortion rules in India are the same throughout the country. However, when you are travelling to a distant country for an abortion, you may also seek the best abortion care. Abortion standards and guidelines may vary from hospital to hospital.
Even the available abortion methods may vary with hospitals. If you are thinking of abortion in India, probably you may choose to get a Gentle Care abortion in Bangalore. It has several advantages that can help you have a comfortable, convenient and quick procedure.
Firstly, Bangalore city is a metropolitan one not very far from Sri Lanka. It is easily accessible by various means of travel and you can choose across plenty of options. Even within the city, there is an extensive network for local means of travel.
As far as languages are concerned, Bangalore city has people flocked in from various parts of the world. So, if you speak Tamil, Kannada, Malayalam, English, Hindi, you may not have any problem with communication. Otherwise also, with geeky smartphones in every hand, Sinhalese is not a big trouble.
And after the super-viral hit of the Sinhalese song,
“Manike Mage Hithe”
in India, you can see a love for your native language. So, you need not see any trouble in travelling and staying in Bangalore.
Besides being easy, you can also experience freedom from stigma when you avail a confidential abortion. Travelling to a distant city or country for an abortion can save you from being in the limelight. Your pregnancy, your marital status, your abortion status, your health and life are all safe with a confidential abortion in India.
Check out the flight schedule from Sri Lanka to Bangalore.
Now let’s speak more about Gentle Care abortions.
Gentle Care abortions at American Hospital Bangalore:
American Hospital Bangalore (AHB) is a premier boutique hospital established in the year 1995. It receives recognition both in the country and across international borders for being the provider of exclusive Gentle Care abortions.
The founders of the hospital saw how abortions are impacting women’s health and lives. And therefore, they went steps ahead in their search for the Gentle Care abortion methods. With these adopted methods, they did not stop there. They further went in search of comfortable abortion experiences.
And therefore, all physicians, nurses and staff at AHB are highly qualified, experienced and have received world-class technical training. Moreover, their knowledge and skills are continuously brushed and updated with leading advancements in healthcare.
You can speak on the helpline number or can even drop a message. In case of any trouble, you can speak to a coordinator, also available on the same helpline number. He/She shall explain to you and guide you through your entire abortion journey.
You can expect to receive help not only at the hospital but also in your travel and overnight stay options. You can also receive assistance in VISA clearance as a part of medical tourism.
What can you expect when you arrive at the hospital?
When you land on the Indian subcontinent, you can hire a cab or the coordinator can arrange one for you. You may go to your booked hotel and take some rest if you like. Then, at the time of your scheduled appointment, again a cab can bring you to your abortion destination.
When you arrive by an appointment that you can avail of via a phone call or a WhatsApp message, the hospital may be expecting you. So, you will receive a pleasant and warm welcome. You need not panic or have any fears. Relax! Even the hospital ambience shall help you in staying calm.
So, now you get to see the doctor in a private one to one consultation. If you are coming with a companion, you can choose to bring him/her in. It’s up to you. The doctor shall take down the medical notes on your medical condition, your LMP, any medicines you are taking, any medical condition you may be suffering from or any history of illness and even your allergies.
Evaluating all the patient-specific factors, the doctor shall advise you to undergo some routine clinical investigations. It’s just a simple blood examination to evaluate all your vitals and other essential information specific to your case. And you will also have to undergo a small ultrasound. This is essential to ascertain the length and location of your pregnancy.
Your pregnancy termination options depend largely on these specific conditions. And it is very much necessary to rule out the complications like that of an ectopic pregnancy. Your reports shall be out within an hour. Until then, you can relax in a private room allotted to you.
When your reports are out, the doctor shall evaluate them and then suggest to you the abortion options. You will receive guidance on the same as per your medical condition. The doctor shall make sure that you understand them in a friendly manner and in understandable language.
You will also receive knowledge regarding the cost of abortion for each available method and what to expect. Your choice and abortion decision shall receive respect for the hospital follows and respects discretion policy.
Once you know and choose your abortion method, you will receive the same in a matter of a few minutes. Abortion can be a very short and quick procedure. You can return home knowing that your pregnancy is over without any life-threatening or post-abortion complications.
The hospital offers three safe methods for terminating intrauterine pregnancies. These have been recommended by the World Health Organization (WHO) in light of making CAC accessible to all women. The WHO has also framed guidelines for safe abortions and AHB practices them accordingly.
The three safe abortion methods for intrauterine pregnancy termination at AHB include:
- The medical abortion method
- Gentle Care suction abortion
- Gentle Care surgical abortion
The medical abortion: What to expect?
The doctor will first ascertain your eligibility for medical abortion before prescribing you abortion pills. If your pregnancy is less than 6-8 weeks, is intrauterine, then you are eligible for a medical abortion.
For preventing the risks with abortion pills, the doctor shall also ask if you are taking any medicines. Some medicines may interfere with the working of abortion pills and if you are not taking them, you are eligible.
Also, some medical conditions like liver or kidney disease or adrenal disease may impact the choice of medical abortion for you. Your allergies shall also receive consideration.
If you are eligible, the doctor will next decide the best dose and method of administration specific only to you. For the same, the doctor will check for the exact length of your pregnancy, your body mass index (BMI) and other details.
The abortion: What to expect?
Then, you will receive the first abortion pill, Mifepristone at the clinic. You can take it orally within the clinic. The next set of the abortion pill(s), Misoprostol has to be taken at a gap of 24-36 hours. Again, the doctor will ascertain the best time gap for you. Either the doctor may hand over the pills and you can take them as directed in your hotel room.
After the second medicine, the abortion will trigger and the embryo expelled within the next 4-6 hours. It will happen in the comfort of your room in the hotel. You can expect mild to moderate pain due to abdominal cramps. In case of heavy pain, you can take pain management medicine, also prescribed to you to be taken as SOS.
The embryo and other pregnancy products will pass down through your natural vaginal route in the form of bleeding. You can expect the blood clots to be larger as compared to your regular monthly menses.
Having a loved one by your side shall help you relax. Abdominal pain and bleeding will start getting lesser after embryo expulsion. You can schedule your return flight when you feel comfortable travelling. But it may be better to wait for the bleeding to stop to ascertain the abortion’s success.
Risk of incomplete abortion:
In most cases, abortion gets complete within a couple of days after the second pill. However, if bleeding persists beyond day 7, it may be a case of incomplete abortion. In such a case, you may need to get it completed.
At AHB, 98% of medical abortions are successful owing to the high-quality medicines. Moreover, considering all eligibility factors at the front end prevents many cases of incomplete abortions. Abortion pills are not more than 98% efficient even with the best standards. Therefore, a slight probability of an incomplete abortion is always present.
Never self-administer abortion pills. Risks with abortion pills may be more than just an incomplete abortion. Always choose to get proper consultation before an abortion with pills.
But if you want to get back with a successful abortion, you can choose Gentle Care suction abortion. Even if you are eligible for abortion pills, you can choose Gentle Care suction for its several other advantages coming ahead.
Gentle Care Suction abortion at AHB: What to expect?
Gentle Care Suction abortion is an absolutely safe and comfortable abortion procedure available exclusively at AHB. Every woman or girl carrying an intrauterine pregnancy less than 12 weeks is eligible for it.
So, even if the medical abortion is not your cup of tea, you can choose Gentle Care suction.
It is a non-invasive in-clinic method of abortion. The woman gets help from a highly caring and supportive nurse in getting ready. She will help you get dressed for the procedure in your private room. Then, she will help you lie down in a comfortable position for the doctor to gently evacuate your pregnancy.
It is a short and quick procedure lasting no more than 5 minutes. The nurse will clean your intimate area to prevent infections. Then, the doctor will gently insert a small disposable flexible tube within your cavity. You may not feel any pain since mild local anesthesia may make your cervix region numb until the procedure lasts.
One end of this tube called, a vacurette connects to a hand-held device, an aspirator that fits in the doctor’s hand. When the tube reaches the placental tissue, the doctor will turn on the aspirator. This will create suction and the pregnancy gently pulls out.
This is a nearly 100% efficient procedure so chances of incomplete abortion are minimal. Moreover, bleeding with this method may also be minimum and the procedure is painless. The biggest advantage is that you may feel normal within 5-15 minutes and can take discharge after that. You can happily leave the hospital knowing that your pregnancy is over.
You can rest overnight in your hotel and return as per your scheduled travel the following day.
Gentle Care surgical abortion: What to expect?
There is a reason that this method has Gentle Care along with the surgical method. This is because although the method is slightly invasive, it is performed with great precision. It is your abortion option if your pregnancy is between 12-20 weeks.
The method involves gentle spooning of the womb after dilating the cervix. Then, the doctor uses evacuation with the aspirator to efficiently remove all the products.
You shall receive mild anesthesia before the procedure to make it painless. It may take less than 10-30 minutes to complete the abortion. Unlike most surgical abortions that use a sharp curette to remove the embryo; Gentle Care abortion uses Gentle Dilatation and Evacuation.
With any abortion procedure, you can take discharge the same day as soon as you feel comfortable. Before the discharge, the doctor shall advise you of some post-abortion recovery tips. You will also receive a prescription for supplements to heal early and antibiotics to prevent infections.
After that, you may rest overnight in your hotel and return to Sri Lanka happily with a successful abortion.
- The period after abortion: What to expect, how to deal with
- Up to how many weeks can you have a medical abortion?
- Do abortions hurt? How long does the pain last?
- Cost of abortion: Medical vs Surgical methods of abortion
- Medical or Suction abortion method: What may be best for you