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    » 06/20/2012, 00.00

    NEPAL

    Nepali Catholics and Protestants against selective abortions

    Kalpit Parajuli

    Sex-based abortions are up because of the country's economic crisis and political chaos. Foreign NGOs are pushing women from poor families to choose abortion and voluntary sterilisation. In a few years, the fertility rate dropped from 4.1 to 3.3.

    Kathmandu (AsiaNews) - Economic crisis and socio-political instability are encouraging illegal selective abortions among Nepali families. In recent days, Christian and Hindu religious leaders, doctors and pro-life activists have appealed to the government to end a practice that is banned and punishable under the law. Although official data do not exist, local sources are saying that foreign social workers and organisations are taking advantage of the country's political chaos to encourage selective abortions among the poorest families.

    Abortion is legal in Nepal since 2002 in cases in which the life of the woman or the child are in danger, in case of rape or if the woman is not in full possession of her faculties. Selective or forced abortion is illegal.

    In rural areas, many foreign NGOs have encouraged a culture of contraception and voluntary sterilisation to fight poverty.

    Since 2006, at least one woman in ten has had an abortion or used abortive or contraceptive pills. Between 2001 and 2006, Nepal's fertility rate dropped from 4.1 to 3.3.

    Catholics and Protestants have tried to counter the use of sex-based abortion and selective foeticide.

    For Achala Baidhaya, a Christian physician, "abortion is a threat to Nepali society." However, in many parts of the country, Hindus believe that without boys, parents will not go to heaven," she explained.

    Economic difficulties compound the situation, pushing families to go through a selective abortion.

    Suni Achrya, also a medical doctor, said that husbands often force their wives to have a abortion.

    Such a medical practices is often performed in facilities that are not properly equipped, with harmful effects on women's health, both physical and psychological.

    According to Rev K.B. Rokaya, a Protestant clergyman and human rights activist, "abortion is a criminal practice that must be condemned. A child is a gift of God and has a right to be born. The government must enforce the law and introduce policies that help families."

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    See also

    10/10/2012 INDIA
    Three million girls "missing" as a result of selective abortions and infanticide
    The 2011 figures are from a study released by India's Central Statistical Organisation. Tomorrow, the world marks International Day of the Girl. "Government, civil society and families should work closely together" against patriarchal gender bias, says doctor member of the Pontifical Academy for Life. Maharashtra wants selective abortion to be treated as murder.

    02/02/2008 NEPAL
    Moratorium on abortion: ethnic minorities in Nepal at risk of extinction
    Members of some Nepalese ethnic minorities are appealing to the government for a moratorium on abortion as the only guarantee for the protection of their lives and human rights.

    18/02/2013 INDIA
    Government to sanction 100 doctors for performing selective abortion and female foeticide
    India's Health Ministry and Medical Council reveal the nation-wide problem. "Choosing the sex [of newborns] is an expression of the lack of respect for women, and one of the causes of rising crimes against them," a member of the Pontifical Academy of Life says.

    14/12/2006 INDIA
    Catholic Church against gender discrimination in India
    In India every seven minutes a woman dies from pregnancy-related complications. Millions of female foeticides are executed every year. Mgr Fernandes urges concrete steps taken against all forms of gender discrimination.

    09/01/2009 CHINA
    Pollution causes many birth defects in China
    Heart disease, cleft palate, hydrocephalus are the most widespread birth defects, the leading cause of infant death. In the most polluted areas, like Shanxi, pollution also produces spontaneous abortions. China is the most polluted country in the world.



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