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Unsafe Abortion in Nepal:  Practices and Consequences

2015-03-12 03:40:01  来源: 【返回列表】

Unsafe Abortion in Nepal:

Practices and Consequences

 

 By Dr Sanjay Gupta

 

According to the Abortion law of Nepal, “only listed doctors or health providers can provide abortion services at approved health institutions, clinics, and hospitals with the consent of pregnant women and according to the national standard” (DHS, 2009). Women can terminate pregnancy if it has resulted from rape and incest; and due to failed family planning. Sex selective abortion is punished under this act. Despite the highly restrictive abortion law, every year thousands of induced abortions are performed illegally in the country. Nepal has one of the highest maternal deaths (539 per 100, 00 live births) among SAARC countries.

 

Since abortion was legalized in Nepal, both authorized as well as unauthorized clinics and centers are rising in Nepal on commercial basis rather than services. About 800,000 Nepalese women get pregnant every year (DHS). Two hundred thousand of total pregnancies are defined as unplanned, unintended and unwanted by Nepalese women. Data suggests that only 80,000 Nepalese women go to approved health facilities or clinic for abortion. About 120,000 Nepalese women go to non-listed clinics or health centers for the termination of pregnancy which is obviously unsafe. Both married and unmarried women are unaware of the abortion related complications and conformation to legal compliance.

 

The consequences of unsafe abortion ranges from minor complications such as bleeding, sepsis, gastro-intestinal disturbances to major complications such as excessive bleeding, hemorrhage, endotoxin shock to name a few. Although minor complications are treatable some complication may cause long-term reproductive damage such as infertility due to infection. Unintended pregnancies are the root cause of abortion (WHO). Married women of reproductive age of 15-49 years must use any method of contraception to prevent pregnancy. According to DHS 2006, 34% of current married women have an unmet need for contraception. It means that “women are sexually active, are able to become pregnant, do not want to have a child soon and are not using any method of contraception” (WHO). According to WHO, women are not using contraceptives due to the concerns of possible adverse effects and their belief they are not at the risk of becoming pregnant. Moreover, premarital sex and pregnancy, abortion is also increasing among teenagers. Sex selective abortion in Nepal is also becoming the matter of a big concern. Sex selective abortion may cause gender imbalance which may create callous situation in Nepal and requires a red alert.

Although abortion is women’s right, abortion related morbidity, mortality and gender-imbalance are the serious consequences which require urgent actions. There is a need to increase the availability of quality contraceptive methods to women throughout the country to prevent unintended pregnancies. In addition, the provision of awareness program on preventing unintended pregnancies and effects of abortion should be expanded targeting sexually active women. Besides promoting safe abortion services, booming of illegal clinics or health centers for abortion should be halted by strict regulation, investigations and monitoring by the government of Nepal.