Thaddeus Baklinski


13-year-old girls are having multiple abortions, doctors in Nepal say

Thaddeus Baklinski

KATHMANDU, Nepal, May 30, 2013 ( - Doctors in Nepal have said that abortion in the tiny country is so out of control that they are threatening to withhold services if the government does not take action.

"The increase in abortions is causing a public health disaster in the country," said Bhola Rijal, a gynecologist and former head of the medical association, according to AsiaNews.  "For this reason, we decided to oppose all forms of abortion."

"More and more teenagers resort to abortion," added Chanda Karki, a gynecologist at a major hospital in Kathmandu.

"In our clinics, we get girls under the age of 13. Although so young, some of them are already on their second abortion," he said. "We decided not to offer this operation except when lives are at risk."

Statistics from the Nepalese Health Ministry indicate that more than 95,000 abortions were performed between April 2010 and April 2011, up from 89,000 the year before and 51,000 the year before that.

In 2002, Nepal legalized abortion until the 12th week of pregnancy, a deadline that is extended until the 18th week in cases of rape, incest, fetal disabilities, or if the woman’s health is in danger.

Since legalization, close to 750,000 abortions have been recorded in the country of 28 million.

Though sex-selective abortion is technically illegal in Nepal, considerably more than half of the abortions carried out have been against unborn girls.

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An investigative report published by the Himal Khabarpatrika newspaper delved into how the legalization of abortion led to the proliferation of ultrasound clinics across the country, allowing parents to abort pregnancies if the mother was carrying a girl.

The Nepali Times said last September that an estimated 50,000 unborn baby girls are aborted each year, after parents discover the gender of the child through ultrasound scans.

"This does not include abortions carried out without parents knowing the gender of their babies, half of which are likely also girls," the newspaper said.

Ironically, while the legalization of abortion was expected to decrease maternal mortality rates, it has instead, as the editorial pointed out, led to the “slaughter” of thousands of unwanted girls.

“As abortion became easier, it has resulted in the appalling spread of female feticide,” the editorial stated.

Women's rights activist Sapana Pradhan said that - while the law punishes ultrasound technicians, doctors and even mothers who are involved in sex-selective abortion - "most abortions take place in private clinics and families and doctors go to great lengths to maintain secrecy. It's very hard for authorities to detect the crime."

According to AsiaNews, the secretary of the Ministry of Health, Praveen Mishara, has admitted that "there is an abuse of abortion in Nepal. Our managers are doing everything possible to curb this phenomenon, which is reaching alarming proportions."

Maternal mortality remains stubbornly high in Nepal despite legal and easily obtainable abortion.

Not all women in the region die in the mountainous Asian nation. In a deplorable turn of events, Gosnell abortion victim Karnamaya Mongar escaped from Bhutan, and then lived for years in Nepal, only to die during an abortion in Philadelphia.

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