July 22, 2015

ABORTION: SRI LANKA VERSUS NETHERLANDS by Lieske Willemse – Utrecht University, the Netherlands

In Sri Lanka abortion is illegal under the Penal code of 1883. The only exception to the rule is in case the mother’s life is in danger. Only under this circumstance a doctor is allowed to abort the child to save the life of the mother. In all other situations someone who deliberately causes a woman to miscarriage a child faces up to three years of imprisonment and/or payment of a fine. A woman that decides to end her pregnancy by abortion faces the same sentences. However in daily life, abortions do take place illegally. A lot of women from low- to middle income families are only able to execute their abortions in illegal abortion clinics where the circumstances of the abortion are often unhygienic. This results in high levels of maternal mortality and traumatic experiences (Kumar, 2012).

In the Netherlands the current situation is quite the opposite. Abortion in the Netherlands is legal if the abortion is executed by a physician in a hospital or clinic. This is stated in the ‘Termination of Pregnancy act’ of 1984. Abortion can be legally executed until the fetus is capable of living independent of the mother. Most doctors do not perform an abortion after 22 weeks of pregnancy. Before performing an abortion, a woman first has to talk to a doctor in a hospital or abortion clinic who has the duty to inform her about alternative options. There must be at least five days between this appointment and the actual procedure to make sure a woman makes the decision after careful consideration (Ministry of foreign affairs, 2011).

To many modern Dutch people of our generation, abortion seems to be legal for ever. However, before politicians changed the law feministic women movements protested for years. A feministic association called ‘de dolle Mina’s’ had a lot of influence on the legalization of abortion. During the 1970s they protested for women equality and equity in the Netherlands.They tried to get the attention from politicians by performing provocative actions, like writing ‘boss in your own belly on their bellies. Mainly because of these women, modern Dutch women do not have to worry about safe abortions today.

SEXUAL HARASSMENT IN PUBLIC TRANSPORTATION IN SRI LANKA by Carien Schippers - University of Groningen, the Netherlands

In the Netherlands, public transportation is a convenient way to travel for young women. To travel by public transportation is encouraged by the Dutch government since its easy, quick and especially safe. However, unfortunately in Sri Lanka, this is not…
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