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J Biosoc Sci. 2014 Mar;46(2):266-77. doi: 10.1017/S0021932013000461. Epub 2013 Aug 16.

Women's knowledge of abortion law and availability of services in Nepal.

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  • 1* Nepal Public Health Foundation, Kathmandu, Nepal.
  • 2† Ipas/Nepal, Kathmandu, Nepal.
  • 3‡ Ministry of Health and Population, Kathmandu, Nepal.


This paper assesses women's awareness of the liberalization of abortion law and their knowledge of a place for obtaining abortion services in Nepal. The data are from the 2011 Nepal Demographic and Health Survey. The results are compared with data from a similar survey conducted in 2006. Variations in the two measures among several population sub-groups are analysed by performing logistic regression. Among women aged 15-44, 38.7% (CI: 37.8, 39.6) were aware of the legal status of abortion and 59.8% (CI: 58.9, 60.7) knew of a place to have an abortion. The percentages of both measures varied considerably by various population sub-groups. Over a 5-year period, knowledge of the legality of abortion increased by 6.4 percentage points, and awareness of service delivery sites increased by 3.3 percentage points. The increases in both measures were, however, largely limited to higher wealth quintiles and those with higher educational attainment. The results suggest the need to intensify efforts to educate women in Nepal, particularly the most disadvantaged women, about abortion law, including the conditions under which abortion is permitted, and where to access safe abortion services.

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