Nepal’s King Gyanendra granted amnesty to 12 female prisoners who were jailed for having abortions. Women’s groups have been urging for the release of the women prisoners since abortion was made legal in Nepal in 2002. Pinky Shah, program officer for the Rural Women’s Development and Unity Center in Nepal, estimates that there are as many as 30 women still in prison for undergoing abortions, BBC reports. Before 2002, women who terminated their pregnancies faced up to three years in prison.
Under the current law, according to BCC News, Nepalese women can undergo an abortion within 12 weeks of pregnancy, and up to 18 weeks if a woman is pregnant as a result of rape or incest. In addition, the law states that women can have abortions at any time if the health of the woman or the fetus is in danger.