Government of Nepal moves to decriminalize abortion in response to rights campaign

JURIST Staff
AUGUST 30, 2021

After years of advocacy by women’s rights groups, the Government of Nepal has agreed to decriminalize abortion and protect the sexual and reproductive health rights of women and girls. Nepalese law students Smriti Phuyal and Smriti Pantha from NLU Delhi and Kathmandu University School of Law file this exclusive report for JURIST from Kathmandu.

The move began when the Center for Reproductive Rights and its Nepal-based partners made a compliance report for the Universal Periodic Review (“UPR”) focusing on the barriers to safe abortion services in Nepal and its impact on the sexual and reproductive health rights of women.

Continued: https://www.jurist.org/news/2021/08/nepal-dispatches-government-of-nepal-moves-to-decriminalize-abortion-in-response-to-rights-campaign/


Nepal accepts UN UPR report recommendation to decriminalise abortion

While Nepal had legalised abortion in 2002, it remains a matter under criminal law

August 07, 2021

Following the Universal Periodic Review of the United Nations Human Rights Council, Nepal has accepted a recommendation from France that the country decriminalise abortion and completely protect the rights and sexual and reproductive health of women and girls.

"This is a key milestone in our efforts to decriminalise abortion and advance reproductive rights as human rights around the globe," said Prabina Bajracharya, the Centre for Reproductive Rights’ Capacity Building Manager for Asia. "We look forward to working with our partners and government officials in Nepal to ensure these recommendations are fully and effectively implemented."

Continued: https://www.theweek.in/news/world/2021/08/07/nepal-accepts-un-upr-report-recommendation-to-decriminalise-abortion.html


Restrictive Laws Don’t Prevent Abortion

With new restrictions on abortion headed to the Supreme Court, many are wondering what it will mean for women if Roe v. Wade is overturned. We looked to other countries for answers.

6/27/2021
by MARJORIE NEWMAN-WILLIAMS

Consider this: Every day around the world some 96,000 women risk their lives to an unsafe abortion, seeking to end an unintended pregnancy. Millions of women face complications following an unsafe abortion and at least 22,000 die every year. This latest push to overturn Roe v. Wade aims to deny women autonomous control over their own bodies and presages a return to the days before Roe, in the U.S. when the death rate due to illegal abortion among women of color was 12 times that of white women. 

MSI Reproductive Choices works in many
countries where abortion is heavily restricted and we are called on daily to
provide life-saving post-abortion care to women and girls who tried to end an
unwanted pregnancy themselves. Faith Pyentim, a midwife from Nigeria, described
one teenage girl who sought help after a desperate attempt to end an unintended
pregnancy. “There was a bad smell, so we knew there was infection. She was 17
then, unmarried with a child at home already.”

Continued: https://msmagazine.com/2021/06/27/abortion-restrictions-supreme-court-global-women-health-death/


Poor Access to Safe Abortions Is Killing South Asian Women

Even in countries where abortion is legal, access to safe abortions remains challenging

By Bansari Kamdar
June 15, 2021

One in every four maternal deaths around the world happens in South Asia. Lack of access to safe and legal abortions and contraceptives is a leading reason for the region’s high maternal mortality rate. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), less than half the abortions in South and Central Asia were safe.

In Bhutan, which has a 1.4 percent case fatality rate, one of the main reasons for maternal mortality is abortion complications. Section 146 of Bhutan’s Penal Code legalizes abortion only if it is to save the life of the woman, or if the pregnancy resulted from incest and rape or the mother is not of sound mental condition. Denied access to safe abortion, many Bhutanese women cross the border to neighboring India, where abortion, while legal on most grounds, remains dangerous.

Continued: https://thediplomat.com/2021/06/poor-access-to-safe-abortions-is-killing-south-asian-women/


Study highlights significant concerns about a growing issue of sex-selective abortion in Nepal

Study highlights significant concerns about a
growing issue of sex-selective abortion in Nepal

Reviewed by Emily Henderson, B.Sc.
Mar 19 2021

Detailed, new analysis published this week in the British Medical Journal (BMJ)
Open highlights significant concerns about a growing issue of sex selective
abortion of girls in Nepal.

Drawing on census data from 2011 and follow-on survey data from 2016, the
social scientists estimate that roughly one in 50 girl births were 'missing'
from records (i.e. had been aborted) between 2006-11 (22,540 girl births in
total). In the year before the census (June 2010 - June 2011) this had risen to
one in 38.

Continued: https://www.news-medical.net/news/20210319/Study-highlights-significant-concerns-about-a-growing-issue-of-sex-selective-abortion-in-Nepal.aspx


Decriminalisation of abortion in Nepal: Tabooed yet crucial debate

By BANDANA UPRETI & SAMANA KAFLE
Mar 02, 2021

Abortion should prima facie be decriminalised with certain exceptions (sex selective abortion, harm to mother's body with intent to hurt foetus and others) as a crime. Decriminalisation does not mean deregulation, and the issue of abortion must be treated as a medical procedure, where the well-being of the women is placed at the centre.

Nepal adopted reproductive health rights as a fundamental right for the first time in its interim constitution 2007 (2063 B.S) under article 20(2) 'Rights of Women'. This was carried forward by the new, existing constitution, 'Constitution of Nepal 2015 (2072 B.S)' under Article 38(2). Furthermore, the Supreme Court in the (2067 B.S) case of Laxmi Dhikta vs Nepal Government clearly defined abortion as an integral aspect of reproductive health rights and women's human right and went on to say that "it is contradictory and incompatible that the issue of abortion which has emerged as a new right is still placed under the strict criminal procedure in the Penal Code (2020) under the Chapter on Homicide", and ordered to regulate the issue of abortion by promulgating separate specific legislation.

Continued: https://thehimalayantimes.com/opinion/decriminalisation-of-abortion-in-nepal-tabooed-yet-crucial-debate


Health Providers Worldwide Welcome Biden Reversal of Anti-Abortion Rule

By restoring funding cut off by his predecessor, President Biden ended four years of what abortion rights advocates called a concerted assault on women’s reproductive health in the developing world.

By Bhadra Sharma, Ruth Maclean, Oscar Lopez and Rick Gladstone
New York Times
Jan. 29, 2021

KATHMANDU, Nepal — When President Donald J. Trump scrapped tens of millions of dollars in aid to women’s health care providers around the world four years ago, the Family Planning Association of Nepal was forced to dismiss more than 200 people and close clinics in at least four parts of the country, one of Asia’s poorest.

Family planning education and birth-control distribution slowed or stopped in Nepal, which relies heavily on American financial assistance for public health programs. While abortion is legal in the country, the options for safe procedures were abruptly narrowed.

Continued: https://www.nytimes.com/2021/01/29/world/asia/gag-rule-abortion.html


Poverty and lack of awareness and access forcing many to resort to unsafe abortion

Even 19 years after legalisation, women’s struggle for safe abortion continues. As a result, they put their health at risk and are unable to exercise their rights, experts say.

Samiksha Baral
Published at : January 24, 2021

For months last year, Mina waited for the Covid-19 induced lockdown to end with bated breath.

When the government finally eased months of lockdown in July, Mina, whose name has been changed to protect her identity, was all set to run away from her home.

Mina had her own simple reason—she did not want to have the child she was carrying.

Continued: https://kathmandupost.com/health/2021/01/24/poverty-and-lack-of-awareness-and-access-forcing-many-to-resort-to-unsafe-abortion


Why Nepali society shouldn’t stigmatise safe abortion? Who should do what?

Sujata Karki
November 7, 2020

It is obvious that women can become pregnant before or after marriage if they are involved in a sexual relationship without using contraception. There is a strong social, cultural and religious belief in our society that women should not give birth to a child before marriage. But, willingly or unwillingly, many women get impregnated before marriage and are later forced to discontinue their pregnancy. If for any reason, unmarried women do not abort, there is a very high chance of killing the newborn baby due to the stigma in society.

But, there are other problems related to abortion in our society. Many people believe an abortion will make the women unable to get pregnant again. There is a moral debate between those who support and oppose it.

Continued: https://english.onlinekhabar.com/why-nepali-society-shouldnt-stigmatise-safe-abortion-who-should-do-what.html


Nepal – For safe abortion practices

Published: September 16, 2020
DR TULA KRISHNA GUPTA

In February this year, a 20-year-old unmarried woman was brought to our emergency ward with abdominal pain and rash on her legs and lower abdomen. Her blood pressure was almost unrecordable. It was clear from her appearance that she suffered from disseminated intravascular coagulation, a complication of severe infection. The rashes on her body were, in fact, bleeding underneath her skin.

While examining her it was found that her genital area had many old infected lacerated wounds. The smell of pus was evident despite our N95 masks. An ultrasound test revealed the retained product of conception inside her uterus. These are the tell-tale signs of septic abortion.

Continued: https://thehimalayantimes.com/opinion/for-safe-abortion-practices/