Although abortion has been legal under broad criteria in Nepal since 2002, a significant proportion of women continue to obtain illegal, unsafe abortions, and no national estimates exist of the incidence of safe and unsafe abortions.
The Asian-Pacific Resource and Research Centre for Women (ARROW) has been working since 1993 to champion women’s sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR). Their January 2017 e-newsletter, Issue 1, highlights five short videos on SRHR issues in Cambodia, China, India, Nepal, and Philippines. We highlight two of them here, which are on safe abortion in Cambodia and Nepal, both countries that have legalised early abortions, highlighting the fact that many women are not yet aware of this.
More than a year after announcing that abortion would be available free of cost, the government of Nepal has set aside Rs 32 million for the fiscal year 2016-17 to start the service. Preparation included collecting data on the number of abortion services seekers. “Once it is complete, we will pass it to Ministry of Finance; after that, we will be able to start the service. It might take around two to three more weeks.”
On 11 September 2016, the Himalayan Times published an article making a series of claims that were very problematic, while offering no evidence for its claims. Awareness-raising sessions with journalists that provide them with accurate and evidence-based information and share ideas about how to investigate and report experiences like these in a critical way can help to influence and inform public thinking.
Despite having five of its districts on the list of the top ten districts in Nepal in terms of public health facilities, the far-west region still shows a very high number of illegal abortions, and the number appears to be on the rise in all districts of the region.