. l He said he would marry me, a widow, and care for my children. That's how he hooked me. Later made me pregnant and ran away.
. He didn't allow contraceptives. I had an abortion while taking paracetamol for an illness.
. My uncle raped me and got me pregnant. When I had an abortion I was charged with manslaughter. After staying in jail for some time I was released. Then I got involved in drugs and was back in jail again.
These are statements by women who have been spending time in jail for having abortions. The findings of a study conducted by the Forum for Women, Law, and Development show the fallout of abortion being illegal.
Abortion has now been legalised, after the 11th Amendment to the Muluki Ain [civil code] became law last week, upon receiving the assent of His Majesty.
But, according to Sapana Pradhan Malla, chairperson of the Forum, there are still several uncertainties that remain at the implementation level, and steps need to be taken to resolve them. The uncertainties could revolve around a number of things, such as how an abortion should be carried out, what kind of doctor can approve them, what form does the agreement between the husband and the wife have to take? It is important to clarify this, as the Civil Code does not come with a separate set of regulations, unlike other laws.
The amendment does not permit abortion on the basis of gender preference, but how will that be prevented? By stopping the import of the equipment needed for testing? The law allows abortions if the child is likely to be born disabled, but what is the measure of that disability? Will a specification by the Health Ministry be enough or will the law have to be amended to incorporate these definitions? A study by the Forum says that there are presently more than 50 women in jail on charges of abortion. Twenty-five of the cases are presently being heard by the courts.
lso, according to Malla, even though there are men involved in every case, none of them is doing or has done any jail time or faced charges of any kind.