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Reprod Health Matters. 2004 Nov;12(24 Suppl):85-94.

Abortion law in Nepal: the road to reform.

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  • 1Technical Advisor, Population and Reproductive Health, Family Health International, Kathmandu, Nepal. sthapa@fhi.org

Abstract

In 2002 Nepal's parliament passed a liberal abortion law, after nearly three decades of reform efforts. This paper reviews the history of the movement for reform and the combination of factors that contributed to its success. These include sustained advocacy for reform; the dissemination of knowledge, information and evidence; adoption of the reform agenda by the public sector and its leadership in involving other stakeholders; the existence of work for safe motherhood as the context in which the initiative could gain support; an active women's rights movement and support from international and multilateral organisations; sustained involvement of local NGOs, civil society and professional organisations; the involvement of journalists and the media; the absence of significant opposition; courageous government officials and an enabling democratic political system. The overriding rationale for reforming the abortion law in Nepal has been to ensure safe motherhood and women's rights. The first government abortion services officially began in March 2004 at the Maternity Hospital in Kathmandu; services will be expanded gradually to other public and private hospitals and private clinics in the coming years.

PMID:
15938161
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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