I am pro-choice and I support women’s right to safe abortion, I would like to share 10 things you should know about abortion service in Nepal.
- Legalization of Abortion: There are legal conditions under which you can go ahead with abortion service in Nepal. Abortion http://www.asap-asia.org/country-profile-nepal.html is legal in Nepal on the following grounds:
- Up to 12 weeks of gestation for any woman
- Up to 18 weeks of gestation if the pregnancy results from rape or incest, and
- At any time during pregnancy, with the advice of a medical practitioner or if the physical or mental health or life of the pregnant woman is at risk or if the fetus is deformed and incompatible with life.
Abortion is punishable under the following conditions:
- Sex selective abortion, and
- Abortion without the consent of the pregnant woman
- Abortion procedures: There are two types of medical procedures that are used in Nepal: MVA-manual vacuum aspiration and MA- medical abortion. Medical abortion is performed within 9 weeks of gestation. Medical abortion is a method of using pills to end a pregnancy through a process similar to a miscarriage. Like vacuum aspiration, medical abortion is very safe and effective. It offers unique advantages. It provides a non-invasive method of ending an unwanted pregnancy that women can use in a range of settings, often in their homes. Safe and legal abortion services providers should counsel their clients regarding the methods of medical procedure being available. It should be the choice of the woman to decide on MVA or MA.
- Identify safe abortion service centers: The Government of Nepal certifies the health facilities as well as health service providers with trained human resources (doctors, nurses, ANMs) to provide abortion services to women. Abortion service and care is now available in all 75 districts of Nepal, many of which are in remote, mountainous areas, reflecting the government’s emphasis on rapid decentralization.
- Privacy and Confidentiality and Counseling: Quality service is an integral part of abortion service centres. Before safe and legal abortion, counseling regarding abortion and its procedure is needed. Women have the right to choose the correct abortion procedures: MVA or MA. To enable this, proper balanced counseling is needed. Privacy and confidentiality are also essential.
- Hotline service: In Nepal, there are limited hotline service centres which offer information on safe abortion: legality, procedures, dos and dons, queries, safe abortion services. But Marie Stopes Nepal offers a range of sexual and reproductive health counseling over phone. They have trained and skilled counselors who are available six days a week and provide information on safe abortion. It is call Meri Saathi Free Helpline. You can dial 16600119756 or 9801119756 to get accurate information on abortion service centers.
- Abortion service centres – Youth Friendly: All abortion service centres should be youth friendly. Safe and legal abortion is young people’s sexual and reproductive health rights. The service providers should not be held back by their personal values when it comes to providing abortion service to young girls.
- Abortion and Consent: When it comes to abortion and consent, most people think that consent from the husband, boyfriend, family, etc is compulsory. But in our abortion law it is clear that “Only pregnant woman holds the right to choose to continue or discontinue the pregnancy.” If the pregnant woman is less than 16 years of age or not in a position to give consent (mentally incompetent), the nearest guardian or relative can give consent for abortion services.
- Accessibility and Affordability: Abortion services in Nepal are available in all government institutes like Primary Health Care, Health post and Sub health post in all 75 districts. The fee structure established for public-sector maternal health services set a standard fee of about Rs. 1000 for induced abortion. The safe abortion policy does stipulate that services be provided free of charge to poor or otherwise marginalized women. With continuously advocacy by women’s health advocates, women’s right activists and health organizations “Abortion has been free of cost in government institutions”.
- Post Abortion Family Planning counseling: Safe abortion needs good quality abortion services incorporating counseling training human source, infection prevention practices and adequate logistic support. Effective contraceptive services are also needed to prevent further unwanted pregnancies.
- You are a champion: Now you are aware of all the abortion related information, you are indeed a great messenger and champion who is responsible for relaying accurate message on abortion being safe and legal in Nepal. You are a Champion.
Youth Champion Shreejana Bajracharya maintains blog on the Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights of young people in Nepal http://ceezana10.wordpress.com/