Seven years ago this month, on September 27, 2002, Nepal took a historic step forward for women by
decriminalizing abortion. The Center is now calling on the country to take concrete steps to fulfill its commitment to women’s human rights and health.
Nepal’s Constitution Recognizes Reproductive Rights
Since 2002, Nepali women have had the legal right to abortion upon
request during the first 12 weeks of pregnancy. Other legal
breakthroughs soon followed. In January 2007, Nepal became the first
country in the region to recognize reproductive rights as
constitutionally protected fundamental rights.
And just this past May, the country’s Supreme Court ordered the government to guarantee access to safe and affordable abortion services
for women, through a new comprehensive abortion law and a
public fund to cover the cost of abortions for women who cannot afford
Nepali Women Remain Unable to Obtain Safe Abortions
The Supreme Court made the ruling in response to a case brought by the Center and its Nepali partners in 2007, Lakshmi Dhikta v. Nepal.
As our lawsuit showed, multiple barriers continue to prevent Nepali
women from accessing safe abortion services. These include prohibitive
costs, lack of information, and lack of skilled abortion providers.
Health services also tend to be concentrated in city centers, depriving
rural women of access. Many continue to be victimized by unscrupulous,
Nepali Government Must Guarantee Reproductive Healthcare
The government must invest more in women’s health and ensure
In addition to safe abortion services, women also need family
Less than 20% of all women are attended by a skilled
If Nepal fails to invest in women’s reproductive health, its
But more importantly, Nepali women will continue to suffer and