The Center has been actively engaged in the reproductive health and rights movement in Nepal since 2000. The Center had been actively engaged in Nepal for removal of the general ban on abortion in Sept. 2002; adoption of the Safe Abortion Procedure Guideline, 2004; establishment of Comprehensive Abortion Care Services (CAC) in 2004, and its expansion to medical abortion services in government outreach health facilities from 2010; reproductive rights guaranteed as fundamental rights by the Interim Constitution of Nepal, 2007; and the groundbreaking decision in Lakshmi v. Nepal case interpreting abortion as a constitutional right.
The Center has been actively engaged in the formation of the Nepal Reproductive Health Rights Working Group (RHRWG) and its advocacy in the last 10 years. RHRWG has been a catalyst in passage of the Safe Motherhood and Reproductive Health Rights (SMRHR) Act and implementing its regulations.
In 2007, the Center together with FWLD, filed the petition Lakshmi v. Government of Nepal holding the government accountable for its failure to ensure safe abortion services that are affordable and accessible. In the case, the Supreme Court of Nepal issued a groundbreaking decision establishing an important legal precedent recognizing women’s right to abortion as a constitutional right and interpreted it as a right to reproductive health. The Court ordered the government to introduce a comprehensive abortion law incorporating a rights-based approach for ensuring accessibility of abortion services and affordability based on a woman’s ability to pay. Following the Supreme Court’s decision in the Lakshmi case, in 2011, the Center facilitated the establishment of a Lakshmi Working Group for monitoring the effective implementation of the judgment.
In 2013, the scope of the Lakshmi Working Group was broadened to cover a range of reproductive health and rights issues, and it was renamed the Reproductive Health Rights Working Group (RHRWG).