Nepal: Abortion law


Brief history of the law

Nepal became model for change globally when abortion was legalized under the 11th Amendment to the Civil Code in March 2002. The bill became law when the Nepal Government affixed the Royal Seal in September 2002. However, there was long delay of 15 months before the procedural order, which authorizes the implementation of legal services, was approved by the cabinet on December 25, 2003.

Short summary of conditions within the law

According to the new law, only listed (trained) doctors or health workers can provide safe abortion services at listed (approved) health facilities, under the following conditions:

  • Within the first 12 weeks of pregnancy for any woman on her request. The permission of husband or guardian is not required for women above 16 years of age
  • Within the first 18 weeks of pregnancy in cases of rape and incest
  • At any time if the pregnancy poses danger to the life or physical or mental health of the pregnant woman or the foetus is seriously deformed and it is recommended by a doctor.

Abortion related morbidity mortality statistics

Demographic and Health Survey, Nepal 2006 show a steady decline in the Maternal Mortality Ratio (MMR) from 539 in 1996 to 281 in 2006. Legalization of abortion and provision of safe and legal abortion service may be one of the factors that may have contributed to this decline.

*Information above has been retrieved from the International Consortium for Medical abortion website, link.

Women’s Organizations

Rural Women's Network Nepal

Youth Telecenter


Misoprostol Availability

Misoprostol is available under the brand names: Isovent, Misoprost, and Zitotec