Bhutan: Abortion Law



Only limited information is readily available on population issues in Bhutan. Since none of the sources makes any reference to abortion policy or practice, the exact status of abortion law in Bhutan is unclear. However, the official State religion of Bhutan is Buddhism, and since Bhuddism disapproves of abortion, it is probable that the procedure is allowed only to save the life of the pregnant woman.

The state of maternal health in Bhutan is known to be poor.  Fewer than 20 per cent of pregnant women receive any prenatal care, and only 5 per cent of deliveries take place in hospitals. There is a significant shortage of health facilities and personnel. Maternal and child health and family planning services are provided by Government basic health units. Although they are not numerous, these units are distributed throughout the country.  The family planning programme has been in operation since 1974.


Bhutan. Penal Code, 2004.

Illegal abortion

 146. A defendant shall be guilty of the crime of illegal abortion if the defendant unlawfully aborts or induces expulsion of an embryo or foetus or prevents a child from being born alive, except the act is caused in good faith for the purpose of saving the life of the mother or when the pregnancy is the result of rape or incest or when the mother is of unsound mental condition.

Grading of illegal abortion

 147. The offence of illegal abortion shall be a misdemeanor.