‘Legalisation not enough to make abortion safe’Women rights groups have urged the government to improve women’s access to reproductive health in the country and increase their access to safe abortion.
Women rights groups have urged the government to improve women’s access to reproductive health in the country and increase their access to safe abortion.
As the world celebrated International Safe Abortion Day on Wednesday, women rights organisations said only legalising abortion is not enough unless they are ensured a safe abortion.
The Women Rehabilitation Centre (Worec) said in a statement that unsafe abortion causes up to 20-27 percent of maternal deaths in hospitals in the country which is significantly higher than the global average of 13 percent.
The number of maternal deaths resulting to unsafe abortion reflects poorly on the fact that abortion legalised in 2002 in the country. Similarly, the constitution has also guaranteed reproductive health right as fundamental rights of women, it added.
“Access to safe and legal abortion remains inaccessible to particularly for unmarried, poor and rural women who as a result are forced to adopt unsafe abortion practice and face additional risk of maternal mortality and morbidity,” reads the statement, adding that abortion in Nepal remains intertwined with issues around gender stereotypes, sexuality, power, and stigma.
The centre has also called on the government to ensure women’s right to access safe and legal abortion services being free from coercion, discrimination and violence.
Other recommendations include adopting integrated and comprehensive sexual and reproductive health policies ensuring women’s right access to information and services such as contraception and sex education.
It has also asked the concerned authorities to raise awareness about the legal
provision and availability
of safe and stigma and
discrimination towards women who choose to have an abortion.
Lack of information about legalisation of abortion is a huge factor in the
country. Only one in three women is aware that abortion is legal and only one in two knows where the service is available, according to a recent survey.