Unsafe Abortion after Legalization in Nepal: Women’s Care-Seeking Experiences

Corinne H. Rocca, University of California, San Francisco
Mahesh Puri, Center for Research on Environment Health and Population Activities (CREHPA)
Cynthia C. Harper, University of California, San Francisco
Maya Blum, University of California, San Francisco
Jillian T. Henderson, University of California, San Francisco

Legalization of abortion was an essential step for improving maternal health in Nepal. However, patients with complications from unsafe abortion are still presenting at hospitals. This study examined abortion-seeking behaviors of women requiring post-abortion care in 2010 (n=527). We assessed factors associated with abortion method and severity of complications, including abortion law awareness. Fewer than half of women knew that abortion was legal. Two-thirds obtained information from friends or pharmacists, and 51% selected their abortion method due to proximity. Most (55%) used oral medication, but <20% knew what they had ingested. Oral medication was most common among women who did not tell others about the abortion, obtained information from pharmacists, and chose a method due to proximity. Among those using medication, higher parity and having the abortion at an uncertified location was associated with more serious complications. Efforts are needed to increase awareness and availability of approved abortion medications.

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Presented in Session 141: Family Planning and Reproductive Health in the Asian Context