Before 2002 Nepal, recorded one of the worst situations of maternal mortality rate. In view of the need for a best practice in providing safe abortion care as well as protect and uplift women’s right to reproductive health, Forum for Women, Law and Development (FWLD) with support from Center for Reproductive Rights (CRR) implemented a project, “Promoting Reproductive Health Rights and Justices in Nepal”.
The Supreme Court of Nepal in Lakshmi Dhikta v Government of Nepal ordered certain specific measures which include adopting a comprehensive abortion law; establishing a government fund to cover abortion procedure costs; ensuring stronger safeguards for women’s privacy; promoting access to safe services for all women; and disseminating information about safe abortion services to health service providers and the public. To ensure that the decision of the Supreme Court is actually implemented by the government and reproductive right is recognized as an integral right of all women in respect to accessibility, availability, affordability and acceptability, Forum for Women, Law and Development partnered with CRR to lobby the implementation and execution of the decision. On this regard a working group i.e. Reproductive Health Rights Working Group (RHRWG) under the Chairmanship of the National Women Commission (NWC) has been established.
FWLD is the secretary of the group. Similarly, a draft bill has been prepared under the coordination of the RHRWG and has been handed over to the Ministry of Health on 28th April 2014. As per the directive order issued by the Supreme Court in the Lakshmi Dhikta v Government of Nepal case, one of the main aims of the program was to draft the Abortion Bill. So far, this aim has been successfully done. The bill is currently being discussed and refined at various levels. The present draft bill includes 30 sections and 7 chapters. FWLD with joint collaboration with CRR has launched the book ‘Child Marriage in South Asia: Stop the Impunity’. Addressal of access to contraceptives is also one targeted areas of the project where FWLD has been conducting various awareness and discussion programs with law makers, stakeholders from various health sector as well as constituent assembly members. In light of lobbying the organization has also worked towards the amendment in the new constitution to safeguard women’s right to reproductive health by submitting joint appeals. FWLD works in close knit with the parliamentarians and law makers to ensure the implementation of the decision and to promote women’s right to health.