The Center for Reproductive Rights: Our Work in Nepal

01.11.2021

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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 Dhikta 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 Dhikta 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 Dhikta Working Group for monitoring the effective implementation of the judgment.  

In 2013, the scope of the Lakshmi Dhikta 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).1 Since then, RHRWG has actively engaged with government officials/agencies, parliamentarians and relevant stakeholders advocating together for a rights-based approach to the protection and promotion of women’s reproductive health and rights (RHR).

Fact Sheet: Nepal Supreme Court’s Landmark Decision Upholding the Right to Abortion | Center for Reproductive Rights

  • 1. The RHRWG was chaired by the National Women Commission (NWC), and its secretariat is coordinated by FWLD. Until 2018, the RHRWG included representatives from the Center; NWC; Beyond Beijing Committee; Center for Research on Environment, Health and Population Activities (CREHPA); Family Planning Association of Nepal (FPAN); Kathmandu School of Law (KSL); IPAS Nepal; National Disabled Women’s Association (NDWA); Sunaulo Parivar Nepal/Marie Stopes International Nepal (MSI); PSI Nepal; Sancharika Samuha; Safe Motherhood Network Federation (SMNF); and Youth Champions Advocacy Network Nepal (YCAN).