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Abortion access in Nepal

Tara Todras-Whitehill | Nepal

Organization: Vignette Interactive

N, who wants to remain anonymous, nurses her young son at her in-laws house where she lives in Janakpur, Nepal, July 9, 2017. N was raped by her husband's friend when she first was married five years ago, and became pregnant after the rape, but didn't know if was from her husband or the rapist. She wanted to keep the child, but her family didn't want her to, and her mother-in-law demanded she use a homeopathic method to abort the baby. She ate papayas for three days which she insists made her have an abortion. She wasn't aware that abortion was legal in Nepal and feels bad about it because she feels that she killed a life. She now has a newborn with her husband who works most of the year in Saudi Arabia.

Nepal legalized abortion 15 years ago, and public and private facilities have been set up to provide the procedure. However, because of issues like stigma, lack of education, and distrust of government facilities, most women don’t ask important questions of the health care providers, don’t see if a clinic/pharmacy has proper authorization from the government, or know what they should do in the event of medical complications from an abortion. And according to a recently released survey by the Center for Research on Environment, Health and Population Activities (CREHPA) more than half of Nepalese women got abortions by illegal providers in 2014. In January of 2017 the government of Nepal made all abortion and contraception services free in the country, which is an important step to help women get better services. But most women still haven’t heard about the new initiative, and there isn’t a concerted campaign by the government to get the message out to local communities. This is one example of the many issues with abortion access in Nepal.

Vignette Interactive

European Journalism Centre

Tara Todras-Whitehill is a photojournalist, multimedia storyteller, and co-founder of the company Vignette Interactive. She is based in Istanbul, Turkey, and has lived in the Middle East for more than 12 years. She tells the stories of vulnerable people, especially women and refugees from the Middle East and Africa. She was a staff photographer with the Associated Press, for several years, covering the Middle East. During that time she documented the 2011 revolutions in Egypt and Libya. She freelances for the New York Times, and has worked with the Washington Post, Der Spiegel, and Vanity Fair, among other news organizations. With Vignette, she creates media projects for NGOs such as UNICEF, Human Rights Watch, and the International Rescue Committee. Her company takes these organizations’ reports and campaigns, and brings them to life with multimedia storytelling that includes photo essays, documentaries and microsites; giving them maximum impact to instigate social change. Last year Tara won a European Journalism Centre grant and the James Foley Conflict Reporting award.





skype: taratw

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