ROLPA, Feb 26: An international non-government organization has courted controversy for allegedly interrupting on the legal safe abortion service by the government. The ‘Suaahara’ (good nutrition) program, operated by various local organizations under Helen Keller International, funded by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) were being informed to suspend the safe abortion service program.
According to a letter written on January 18, it has been mentioned that the safe abortion program are prohibited as per the policy of the USAID, for which the organizations are forbidden to provide this service.
“We are conducting the Suaahara II program. Meanwhile, the arousal of the controversy was noticed at a time when we were preparing to start the safe abortion program under the mutual agreement with Ipas”, said Shobha Ram Dangi of Rural Development and Social Awareness (RUDAS), Rolpa. “It has not been mentioned in the agreement of Suaahara program. The INGO is interrupting the program citing the Mexico City Policy, “he added.
However, even Mexico City Policy also promote the safe abortion, he said, adding that they are conducting the safe abortion program with the collaboration of Ipas. He warned of moving the court if the organization would scrap the contract breaching government policy.
If the organizations which are in operation across the country funded by the USAID, conduct any activities related to safe abortion, it will be against the policy of the USAID and the contract will automatically be suspended, mentioned in the letter written by the organization.
The policy has been changed following the decision of Trump government, said Basanta Thapa, representatives from USAID Suaahara, Kathmandu. He added that the programs are being run and will run as per the policy of the USAID, citing it as the matter of consensus rather legal.
In many cases, INGOS are directly running the program in various districts illegally without collaboration with local organizations. The few programs under second phase of Suaahara are in operation directly in the district. However, the monitoring of the programs is weak. Suaahara works in aliment sector whereas Ipas works in the sexual and reproductive sector. There are 12 centers that provide safe abortion services in the district.