Women in the dark over safer abortion methods

Kathmandu, November 10:

Lack of awareness on safer abortion practices and persisting confusion on legal provisions on abortion have been compelling women to opt for unsafe abortion techniques, speakers said at a programme organised in the capital today.

Launching a programme titled ‘Network for Addressing Women’s Reproductive Rights in Nepal’ (NAWRN), Piyush K Rajendra, director, Health Division, Ministry of Health, said lack of awareness on safer abortion practices is hindering the efforts aimed at raising awareness on safer abortion techniques among the people.

The NAWRN programme will be gradually launched in Baglung, Banke, Chitwan, Dadeldhura, Jhapa, Kailali, Kanchanpur, Kaski, Kathmandu, Kavre, Mohattari, Rupandehi, Sunsari, Surkhet and Tanahu.

It aims to improve the health and well-being of women, men, adolescents and youths in Nepal through partnerships with organisations working in the field of women’s health and rights. The programme is expected to increase access to, and utilisation of, comprehensive abortion care services for unplanned pregnancies. The Centre for Research on Environment Health and Population Activities (CREPHA), Family Planning Association of Nepal (FPAN), Forum for Women, Law and Development (FWLD) and Safe Motherhood Network Federation Nepal (SMNF) and PPFA - International Asia Regional Office are supporting the programme.

Lack of access to safer abortion practice is a violation of women rights, legal experts said, adding that policies should be drafted on the basis of field observations. Judicial system should help protect women’s reproductive rights, they said.

Presenting the key findings of Baseline Survey of the NAWRN programme, Anand Tamang, the CREPHA chairman, said people do not have comprehensive information on the 11th amendment to the Civil Code Bill, which permits women to seek abortion on certain grounds.