New rules for right to safe motherhood


The Government of Nepal has issued the Safe Motherhood and Reproduction Health Rights Regulation-2020 for implementation of necessary provisions related to safe, quality, affordable, and accessible maternity and reproductive health services.

As per the regulation, each basic health service centre shall provide maternity and emergency maternity services and neonatal services free of cost. The health facilities must provide essential services to women from the stage of pregnancy to motherhood.

Health facilities that provide emergency obstetric and neonatal care shall arrange a resting place for pregnant women with specific conditions.

“The health institutions shall have round-the-clock water and sanitation facilities, beds, disabled-friendly arrangements, food, kitchen utensils and fuel,” it says.

According to the regulations, health facilities providing maternity service shall provide emergency service 24 hours a day.

Each person shall have the right to obtain information, make choices and seek other services related to family planning from health institutions.

No one shall be discriminated with regard to right to services, this includes family planning, reproductive health, safe motherhood, safe abortion, emergency obstetric care and newborn care, reproductive morbidity and menstrual care on the grounds of origin, religion, colour, caste, ethnicity, sex, community, occupation, business, sexual and gender identity, physical or health condition, disability, marital status, pregnancy, creed, state of being suffering from any disease or infected with virus or vulnerable to such infections, state of reproductive morbidity, personal relationship, or any other such grounds.

The regulations allow only the listed health facilities to provide safe abortion service. It prohibits abortion of less than 12 weeks and more than 28 weeks of pregnancy. “No one shall carry out abortion by enticing, coercing or threatening or alluring a pregnant woman,” it reads.

The Government of Nepal shall make a provision of a grant amount in its yearly budget for safe motherhood and reproductive health services from each local level.

Likewise, the provincial government concerned is required to set aside a certain amount of its budget every year for local levels.

The amount received by the local levels from the federal and provincial governments shall be spent on providing safe motherhood and reproductive services, with special focus on highly marginalised and destitute women.

However, private, non-governmental and community health institutions may collect service charge from patients in accordance with the standard set by the federal government.

The victim, who is denied services as per the existing laws and rules, shall be entitled to compensation from the perpetrators in accordance with the law..