Ipas Nepal Strategic Plan Narrative – FY 2018-2023

Our vision and mission
Unsafe abortions put women and girls at great risk every year. Ipas Nepal puts abortion front and center in all we do. This has been our focus for 15 years and will continue to be our passion until the number of unsafe abortions in Nepal is reduced to zero.

Our broad vision is to help ensure that every woman and girl has the right and ability to determine her own sexuality and reproductive health. Women are the core of families and communities, and their well-being is central to national health and stability. We are unapologetically focused on the woman or girl who wants contraception or an abortion, and we move every lever within our power to support her. We work to dismantle barriers and to foster the full realization of sexual and reproductive health and rights, which are essential to the achievement of physical, mental, spiritual, political and economic well-being. We oppose coercion in any form.

One of the main evolutions in our new strategic plan is that we deliberately put the word “use” in our mission statement: “Women and girls have improved sexual and reproductive health and rights through enhanced access to and use of safe abortion and contraceptive care.” We believe that it is not enough to create improved environments in which women and adolescents have the right to access abortion and contraception. We must also make sure that those rights result in available, accessible, and acceptable high quality abortion and contraception, so that women and girls use these services when and where they need them.

Background
History of Abortion in Nepal: From criminalization to nation-wide availability Nepal is a poor country whose rugged terrain and political unrest exacerbate the significant challenges of providing health care to its population of roughly 28 million. Prior to its amendment in 2002, the abortion law in Nepal was highly restrictive: Abortion was permitted only to save a woman’s life.1 Unsafe abortion was common and deaths from abortion-related complications accounted for more than half of maternal deaths that occurred in major hospitals.2 Women who sought abortion not only risked their lives, but years of imprisonment, as abortion was considered a criminal act; 1 in 5 (or 20%) of women in prison had been convicted of procuring an illegal abortion.

In March 2002, after decades of advocacy, the Parliament of Nepal enacted landmark legislation granting women broad legal access to abortion. Lawmakers took this historic step in response to evidence of the detrimental effect of the previous restrictive abortion law on women’s health and rights, demands for reform from civil society, and in the context of a national effort to reduce maternal mortality.

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