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Litigation Briefing Series

The Litigation Briefing Series provides summaries and background information on high-impact cases that seek to strengthen legal protections for women’s reproductive rights in courts and human rights bodies around the world.

Lakshmi Dhikta v. Nepal
Legal Abortion Must Be Available to All Women


Lakshmi Devi Dhikta, a woman from an extremely poor household in the far-western region of nepal, already had five children when she became pregnant for the sixth time. She and her husband, Udhav, knew that having another child would be financially strenuous and would take a significant toll on Lakshmi’s health, so they requested an abortion at a government hospital. There, they were told that there would be a fee of 1,130 rupees for an abortion. The Dhiktas did not have enough money to pay this fee and Lakshmi had no choice but to continue with the unwanted pregnancy.

Despite the legal status of abortion, and notwithstanding nepal’s constitutional recognition of reproductive rights as fundamental rights, women like Lakshmi, who live in poor and rural areas, are often unable to obtain abortions for reasons such as prohibitive fees, physically inaccessible facilities, and lack of knowledge of the legal status of abortion.

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