Nepal – Abortive measures

Despite the legal provisions, unsafe abortions continue to add to the maternal mortality rate.

August 15, 2023

Many Nepali women are in unsafe hands, as evidenced by the death of a 35-year-old woman while seeking an abortion at a local clinic in Dhangadi. No sooner had she died than people found out that the clinic was operating illegally. Every year, around 100,000 women have abortions in Nepal at legally-authorised clinics and health facilities; however, the actual number could be much higher, as many abortions are swept under the rug. Many illicit clinics could be running and taking women’s lives far from the government’s gaze.

The country legalised abortion in 2002, allowing women to terminate up to 12 weeks of pregnancy without any reason being sought, and up to 28 weeks in cases of rape, incest and health complications. Free first-trimester and second-trimester abortion practices were also initiated. The Health Ministry’s Safe Abortion Service Guideline doesn’t recognise private sector auxiliary nurse midwives as authorised persons to provide medical abortions as they are not trained as skilled birth attendants. Nepal allows trained auxiliary nurse midwives (ANMs) to provide medical abortion care up to 10 weeks gestation, even in rural health care centres. Staff nurses can do both manual vacuum aspiration (MVA) and medical abortion up to 10 weeks gestation, while MBBS doctors can perform MVA up to 12 weeks. But only obstetrician-gynaecologists and general practitioners are permitted to do second-trimester abortions (13-28 weeks).


Providing Choice During A Humanitarian Crisis

Aug 1, 2023
By Amanda Seller, President, MSI United States

In the Northern Central region of Burkina Faso, Yvette Yoda is part of a team of mobile midwives working to provide life-saving reproductive healthcare services to women and girls who have been forced from their homes by violence.

More than two million people are internally displaced in Burkina Faso, with many living in camps. Yvette makes the difficult journey to reach them because she knows how important it is for women facing a crisis to be able to control their own futures.

Why is reproductive choice important in emergency settings?


The Forgotten Tragedy Of Unsafe Abortion

Jun 29, 2023
By Amanda Seller, President MSI United States

In the half a century that Roe v. Wade protected the right to choose in the United States, the risks of unsafe abortion became a distant memory. But in countries that liberalized their abortion laws more recently, the deadly consequences of abortion restrictions are still recent. Their experiences are an important reminder that banning abortion endangers women’s lives.

MSI Reproductive Choices is one of the world’s largest providers of sexual and reproductive healthcare, including safe abortion and care after unsafe abortions. Three providers in Cambodia, Ethiopia, and Nepal shared memories of the impact restrictive laws had on women in their countries.


Decriminalising abortion in Asia: Perspectives from India and Nepal

Decriminalising abortion encourages access to safe abortion and proper post-abortion care. It does not mean that the law would no longer regulate abortion, but that no one would be punished for providing or having an abortion, and the law provides a positive framework to ensure access to safe abortion.

MAY 28, 2023

“FIFTEEN-year-old Sita (name changed), who got pregnant due to rape, ended her pregnancy by consuming medical pills her father obtained from a local pharmacist. Sita’s district court statement noted that she sought an abortion to safeguard her and her family’s reputation. The court convicted Sita of illegal abortion and sentenced her based on her admission.” – Center for Reproductive Rights & Forum for Women, Law and Development, Decriminalization of Abortion in Nepal: Imperative to Uphold Women’s Rights, 2021

The ability to make and exercise decisions about one’s body, sexuality and reproduction is at the core of gender, economic and social justice. Under international human rights law, States are obliged to respect, protect and fulfil rights related to sexual and reproductive health, including the rights to life, health, privacy, information, freedom from ill-treatment, non-discrimination and equality. States are also required to guarantee access to quality sexual and reproductive health information and care, including abortion services.


Nepal – Karnali doctors receive training on safe abortion

The Karnali Provincial Hospital organised the training in a bid to reduce abortion-related deaths.

Tripti Shahi
April 24, 2023

In a bid to reduce maternal deaths due to unsafe abortion practices, the Karnali Provincial Hospital organised a training for doctors from April 9-18.

According to the 2021 census of Nepal, around 172 women die per 100,000 live births in the Karnali province.


Nepal – Decrminalise abortion: Rights activists

By Ram Kumar Kamat
Mar 18, 2023

Kathmandu – Article 38(2) of the constitution ensures the right of every woman to safe motherhood and reproductive health thereby acknowledging the right to safe abortion as part of reproductive health right, but in practice, women have not been able to enjoy this right, due to criminalisation of abortion and a number of restrictive measures.

Executive Director of Forum for Women, Law and Development Sabin Shrestha said Safe Motherhood and Reproductive Health Rights Act, which was brought to enable women to enjoy their reproductive health rights, conversely prohibited abortion after 28 weeks of pregnancy.


Abortion Providers From Around the World Share the Dangers of Practicing Under Bans


Over the last 30 years, 59 countries have relaxed abortion restrictions. This includes 18 countries that have overturned complete bans on abortion. In stark contrast, with Roe v. Wade overturned, the U.S. joins the ranks of only three other countries to have restricted access in that time: Poland, El Salvador and Nicaragua.

So, while the news from the U.S. is cause for alarm, it also reminds us of how far we’ve come, and why we cannot turn back the clock in countries that have liberalized abortion. The following stories of abortion providers in Cambodia, Ethiopia and Nepal of life before their countries legalized abortion show the U.S. how restricting abortion rights can endanger women’s lives.


Legal Yet Limited: Abortion Rights in Nepal

Gaps in Access and Equity Pose Challenges to Reproductive Rights

Shivani Mishra, Associate, Women's Rights Division
June 13, 2022

Following the deaths of countless women who had undergone unsafe abortions, Nepal legalized the procedure in 2002. In 2018, Nepal’s government went further to protect women, enacting legislation that recognizes seeking abortion as a fundamental human right. But more needs to be done to expand safe abortion access across the country.

Nepal’s abortion law permits women to seek abortion for any reason up to 12 weeks of gestation, and up to 28 weeks in cases of rape or incest. Abortion is also legal up to 28 weeks of the pregnancy if a licensed medical practitioner identifies a risk to the woman’s mental or physical health or if the fetus is “likely to become non-viable.”


Nepal – ‘Govt not serious about decriminalising abortion’

By Ram Kumar Kamat
Apr 03, 2022

KATHMANDU, APRIL 2 - Even one year after Nepal accepted the Human Rights Council's universal periodic review recommendation that it should decriminalise abortion, the government has not taken any concrete steps to amend the prevailing laws that criminalise abortion.

In 2018, the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women Committee had also recommended that Nepal fully decriminalise abortion in all cases and legalise it at least in the cases of health complications of the mother.


Nearly half of the pregnancies in Nepal are unintended, UN agency says

Half of the 1.2 million pregnancies in the country were unintended and nearly 359,000 ended in abortion in 2017.

Arjun Poudel
March 31, 2022

Nearly half of the pregnancies in Nepal are unintended and close to two-thirds of them ended in abortion, according to a recent report by the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA).

The UNFPA’s “State of World Population 2022” report titled, “Seeing the Unseen”, says half of the 1.2 million pregnancies in 2017 in Nepal were unintended and nearly 359,000 were aborted.