His Excellency Bishop Winston S. Fernando, president of the Sri Lankan Catholic Bishops’ Conference, has warned the local media not to attack church leaders over their anti-abortion stance and highlighted that media freedom does not constitute a right to target religious leaders. Church leaders in Sri Lanka have condemned a government decision to allow abortion in a broader range of circumstances and currently, abortion is illegal except when it is needed to save the life of the mother.
As reported by ucanews.com, His Grace Bishop Winston remarked that “We can’t accept either condemnation of the Catholic teaching on morality or any personal attacks, insults or disrespectful remarks of the unauthorized teachers of the Catholic Church and the Catholic Church has the mandate and the right to teach whether the faithful or other people accept the teaching or not.” Further, His Excellency added, “Anyone is free to accept or reject the teaching, but no one can cast aspersions on the teachers or writers.”
Opponents of the Catholic Church say that it does not take sufficient account of maternal rights, particularly in cases of rape or if a fetus is abnormal. The Catholic Church’s stance is based on the belief that life begins at conception.