Woman Dies in Marie Stopes Abortion Facility in Nepal as Controversial Ads Air in UK

By Hilary White

LONDON, May 26, 2010 ( – The day before Marie Stopes International abortion advertisements began airing in the UK, a woman died in one of their overseas abortion facilities in Nepal. Nepalese media reported this week that Durga Devi Khadka died on Sunday at the Marie Stopes Center in Damak, a municipality in the southeast.

Khadka was 10 weeks pregnant, according to the Nepalese newspaper Republica. Police are investigating and have detained the facility owner, Chitra Bahadur Karki.

By its own admission, Marie Stopes International was responsible for the deaths of at least 920,000 unborn children by abortions, both surgical and drug induced, around the world last year - a massive increase of 56 per cent since 2008. Marie Stopes, with such abortion giants as International Planned Parenthood Federation and the United Nations Population Fund, is a major player in the international population control movement that is targeting poor countries in Asia, including Nepal.

In 2001, Nepal gave in to pressure from the United Nations and legalized abortion in cases of pregnancy due to rape or incest up to ten weeks after conception, and at any time “where pregnancy poses any danger to the physical or mental health of the mother or if the child will be disabled.” In 2009, Marie Stopes International, active in Nepal since 1994 with 61 facilities, boasted that its presence in the country had reduced the fertility rate between 2001 and 2006, from 4.1 to 3.1 births per woman.

Sunaolo Parivar Nepal (SPN), the local Marie Stopes affiliate, committed 70 per cent of all abortions between 2004 and 2007, making it the largest abortionist group in the country. Between 2001 and 2006, SPN had also conducted 50 per cent of all female sterilizations and 45 per cent of all (male and female) sterilizations in Nepal. Overall, the group said, sterilizations have risen in Nepal from 11,453 to 35,278 during those years.

The ready availability of abortion, however, has started to come under scrutiny for its role in the massive gender imbalances in many Asian countries. In 2000, Nepal was named in a UN report on the Asian gender imbalance caused by sex-selective abortion.

The easy availability of abortion has also been identified as a key link in the trafficking of Asian women for sexual slavery in India, a problem that is especially acute in Nepal. Tara Bhattarai, writing in 2007 for the Press Institute for Women in the Developing World, relates the story of a Nepalese woman, Geeta Tamang, who was sold into sexual slavery in India at the age of ten.

Tamang said that the pregnant women in her brothel were routinely taken by the brothel owner to a local abortion facility in Pune, the city where she was enslaved. After an abortion in the morning, Tamang said, “it was common for those women to be forced to take clients by the evening.”

The kidnapping and trafficking of women for forced prostitution in India is rampant in Nepal where poverty will sometimes drive relatives to sell young girls over the open Indian border. Local anti-trafficking NGOs estimated in 2007 that 7000 girls between the ages of 10 and 16 were trafficked into the Indian sex trade annually.

This week, while the Marie Stopes ads were airing on British television, the advocacy group Tibet Truth blasted the group for ignoring the “medical atrocities,” including forced abortion and sterilizations, committed against Asian women in the name of “family planning.” Tibet Truth participated in a demonstration against Marie Stopes at their London headquarters where the group was hosting Li Bin, the official responsible for enforcing China’s coercive one child policy.

Marie Stopes maintains five facilities in China, and lists the country’s various local “Family Planning Commissions” as partners in their work.

Tibet Truth said, “Like its ‘sister’ organizations the United Nations Fund for Population and the International Planned Parenthood Federation, [Marie Stopes International], though acutely aware of China’s program of forced sterilizations and forced abortions, which have traumatized countless women in China and occupied regions such as Tibet and East Turkestan, seems unable to offer a word of public condemnation, concern or opposition to such medical atrocities.”

Read related LSN coverage:

Protests Mount against UK Abortion Ads as Bishops Condemn

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