Meera, a young woman from eastern Nepal is currently serving a seven year sentence for infanticide after she had a miscarriage in 2015.
Although abortion is legal, women who either miscarry – or avail of abortions – can be convicted of homicide due to a combination of legal complexities and negative attitudes within the judicial system. The majority of abortions are still carried out by untrained medical professionals so they can be performed in secret. This puts the lives and well-being of Nepalese women at extreme risk every single day.
The Forum for Women, Law and Development (FWLD), Donor Direct Action’s Kathmandu-based partner, has worked hard on this issue for many years. In 2002 it played a central role in legalizing abortion in Nepal. This caused maternal mortality to fall by half. Before then all instances of abortion were illegal – including in cases of rape or when a mother’s life was at risk.
With support by FWLD and others a new reproductive rights bill was recently introduced in Nepal’s parliament. If passed it would make it impossible to convict a woman of homicide if she has an abortion or suffers a miscarriage. It would also ensure that women have much better access to information on their reproductive rights.
We hope you will take a moment to make a contribution to support FWLD’s urgent work, which would help them continue to transform the futures of millions of women and girls in Nepal.