Nepal has ratified and recognised various conventions and declaration that collectively urge human rights of women. Conventions like CEDAW, CRC, etc are well followed by Nepal government. The legal history of reproductive rights starts from Interim Government of Nepal Act 2007 BS (around 1945 A.D) and some recent Supreme Court decisions are on the way of progressive realization of reproductive rights in Nepal. Article 20 of Interim Constitution of Nepal 2063 (2008 A.D) provides the exclusive reproductive rights to women. However, Nepal does not have a specific Act to govern the matters and concerns relating to reproductive rights in Nepal.

In 2002 Nepal’s parliament passed a liberal abortion law, after nearly three decades of reform efforts. This bill was able to liberalize very strict and decades-old abortion law. In 2004, the bill became law and came into effect. The first government abortion services officially begun in March 2004 at the Maternity Hospital in Kathmandu; services have been expanded gradually to other public and private hospitals and private clinics in the coming years.


Despite a liberal effort by government and all the active partners to recognize abortion in Nepal, still it is one of the most debateable topics till date in Nepal. Discussions are always being held on abortion issues regarding its accessibility, affordability and confidentiality issues. Country's major population (almost 80 %, National Census 2011, preliminary report) still have rural settlement and more than 50% of the total population are females (National Census 2011, National Census 2011, preliminary report). This clearly indicates that the issues raised above have inline relations to women status. The gradual improvements in implementation mechanism are being expected both from government and other active partners. This creates a hopeful environment for women in days to come. If not, advocacy will be started and we are fortunate to learn about that.


In line with the major concerns about safe-motherhood and human rights of women; also the abortion topic is related to male as well, from smaller to a larger extent. Thus, a question here arises, '' Whether a women's right to abortion curtails any man's right to be father?"  Various view points are being executed in this regard. Some feminists, are purely obsessed capitalizing women's interest and health regard in this, in fact are true. On contrary to that, the man's interest to be father is yet not realized. Nepal's laws and provisions do not recognise the right of foetus (except ratifying CRC), however one of the biggest development donor countries, US doesn't fund on abortion amplifying their conventional belief that life exist on foetus. Scientifically, a zygote is possible only after the fertilization which represents equal contribution for formation of embryo and thus gestation takes place. It is very factual that the whole development of human embryo is only possible due to woman and its natural but the fertilization is possible only with equal interest of both father and mother which gives a liable reason to father to have his baby born. Practices are abundant where mothers play significant role in a baby's growth however the fact that fathers are also equally capable and responsible for raising a baby can't be denied. In wholesome, it can be said as for a mother to conceive and bear a healthy baby, both parents are work equally and responsible. In the same ground, Nepal's prevalent abortion law provides no obligation to a mother's decision, whether it is taken with a general consent or individual. Provided the legal provisions, a mother's decision to abort her baby is unquestionable. In this scenario, what may be the most happening question to father, 'shall I have a baby only because of my wife's interest or do I have some right to have my baby?' Question passes to you!!            

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Comment by Nikunja Bhandari on November 8, 2011 at 3:45pm

Yes, need a serious discussion!!

Comment by Indra Dhoj Kshetri on November 8, 2011 at 3:27pm

Nice point for discussion.

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