Background: Despite liberalization of the Nepal abortion law, young women continue to experience barriers to safe abortion services. We hypothesize that marital status may differentially impact such barriers, given the societal context of Nepal.
Methods: We evaluated differences in reproductive knowledge and attitudes by marital status with a probability-based, cross-sectional survey of young women in Rupandehi district, Nepal. Participants (N = 600) were surveyed in 2012 on demographics, romantic experiences, media habits, reproductive information, and abortion knowledge and attitudes. We used logistic regression to assess differences by marital status, controlling for age.
Results: Participants, who comprised never-married (54%) and ever-married women (45%), reported good access to basic reproductive health and abortion information. Social desirability bias might have prevented reporting of premarital romantic and sexual activity given that participants reported more premarital activities for their friends than for themselves. Only 45% knew that abortion was legal, and fewer ever-married women were aware of abortion legality. Never-married women expected more negative responses from having an abortion than ever-married women.
Conclusions: Findings highlight the need for providing sexual and reproductive health care information and services to young women regardless of marital status.