Baby for sale: Rs 20,000/-

15 09 2009

Recently the newspapers carried a story of a woman who sold her baby for 20,000/- rupees. After carrying an unwanted child in her womb for 9 months, I think she should have asked for a higher price.

Abortion is illegal in Sri Lanka. Even if you are raped. Even if you are a survivor of incest. Even if you have no desire to have a child. Even if you had no control over the decision to get pregnant. Even if you were forced into it. None of these matter. If you are pregnant – legally – you have to carry the child to term. No choice.

So what happens to a young girl who has sex without contraception and gets pregnant? First of all, mostly likely, she would have had no idea that the consequence of her actions (and those of her lover’s) would lead to pregnancy. After all who’s  to tell her this? Who is going to educate her?  This subject is not included in any school curricula and even if it was, no teacher is willing to talk about it for fear of being called “vul teacher”. Her parents? No. Most parents are too embarrassed to educate their children about sex. These are not things we talk about in our culture, you’ll hear them say. And even if she knew the consequences and wanted to take precautions, where would she access contraception from? Can you imagine her going into a pharmacy and asking for a condom? A woman?  Not only would she get the dirty stare but, as when purchasing sanitary pads, it would be wrapped in layers of brown paper in the usual attempt at discretion. Discretion my arse. Every women has her period and everybody has sex at some point in their lives. What’s to be discreet?

So who’s going to educate our young people about sex? NO ONE. No one is willing or able to educate young people about responsible sexual behaviour today.

So a girl gets pregnant. She isn’t married. She can’t abort the child. What are her options? Suicide seems to be one. Yes, we have one of the highest rates of suicide in the world. Ever wonder why? 95% of the time suicide is not premeditated –  meaning that young people often commit suicide on impulse, to show the world, to teach them a lesson, to take revenge…

Wouldn’t it be much simpler to acknowledge that we have a problem and try to find a solution together, instead of this band-aid culture we see emerging in Sri Lanka? Instead of conducting raids on abortion clinics and driving the problem further underground, why dont we look at why women are trying to abort their babies? Why are women getting pregnant without intending to? Why are children being born to parents who didn’t want them in the first place?

And what if men could get pregnant and had to carry the child for 9 months in their (non-existent) wombs? Would we be having this discussion at all?

The first reactions to challenges in Sri Lanka are knee-jerk ones. Ban anything you don’t like. No evidence needed, just impulse – a whim and some political clout.  Ban mobiles in schools, ban porn sites, ban abortions – raid the clinics, ban adult content movies, ban women from buying alcohol, ban overseas migration of women as domestics – ban, ban, ban. As if any of this really works! The less accessible these things are, the more inviting they are to young folk who are adventurous and willing to experiment.

I am frothing mad.



4 responses

15 09 2009

Ban, ban ban! Excellent!

26 09 2009

hear hear!

16 10 2009

“Not only would she get the dirty stare but, as when purchasing sanitary pads, it would be wrapped in layers of brown paper in the usual attempt at discretion. ”

I hear yeah!

14 12 2009

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