Abortion Laws in Bangladesh
Induced abortions in Bangladesh are only legal when the woman’s life is in danger. This provision comes from the country’s Penal Code of 1860. In contrast to this law, a procedure known as Menstrual Regulation (MR) was sanctioned by the government in 1979, and it allows Manual Vacuum Aspiration (MVA), or a combination of Misoprostol and Mifepristone, to “induce a late period”.1 MR is usually offered free of charge in public health facilities, while medical abortion pills cost between 175 to 450 BDT in local pharmacies.
Is abortion legal in Bangladesh?
Under the Bangladesh Penal Code of 1860, induced abortions are illegal, except if the woman’s life is in danger. However, Menstrual regulation (MR), defined as “the procedure of regulating the menstrual cycle when menstruation is absent for a short duration,” has been available free of charge through the government’s family planning program since 1979.2 MR uses Manual Vacuum Aspiration (MVA) or a combination of misoprostol and Mifepristone to ‘induce a late period leading to the removal of the contents of the uterus before a positive pregnancy test is administered. MR allows women to discreetly terminate an early pregnancy under the guise of contraceptive failure and a missed period.
What are the different abortion services available in Bangladesh?
Bangladesh provides both medical and in-clinic abortion services. A combination of two drugs, Mifepristone and Misoprostol, is used for a Medical Abortion (MA), and the only available in-clinic procedure is an MVA.
- Medical abortion: MR, using the combination of Misoprostol and Mifepristone, is permitted until nine weeks after a woman’s last menstrual period.
- In-clinic abortion: MR through MVA is permitted until 10-12 weeks after a woman’s last menstrual period.
*Note: Procedures after these timelines are considered abortion cases and will only be permitted according to the provisions contained in the Penal code of 1860.
Who can perform legal abortions in Bangladesh?
In Bangladesh, trained providers can only legally provide abortions if the woman’s life is in danger.
MR can be performed by doctors and paramedics known as Family Welfare Visitors.
Where can I go for legal abortion services in Bangladesh?
In Bangladesh, MR and legal abortion services are provided for free at primary-, secondary-, and tertiary-level public health facilities; private family planning clinics; and certain NGOs.3
What is the cost of a safe abortion in Bangladesh?
MR is available free of charge. Misoprostol, or a combination of Misoprostol and Mifepristone (indicated for menstrual regulation), can be bought from pharmacists as:
- Mifeston, at 175 BDT or 2 USD,
- Terminix Table Kit, at 300 BDT or 3-4 USD, and
- Cytomis (per pack), at 450 BDT or 5-6 USD.
Which abortion pills are available in Bangladesh?
There are three types of abortion pills, under different brand names, available in Bangladesh:
- Mifepristone (Mifeprist, Mifetab, Mifecon, Mifeston, Mifegest, MIF, Mprix, Mifovent, Mediprist, and MTY),
- Misoprostol (Miclofenac, Ultrafen-plus, Erdon Super, Misoclo, Misofen, Arthrofen, and Dix Extra).
- Combination of misoprostol and mifepristone ( Cytomis, Terminex)
Mifepristone is a drug that blocks the hormone, progesterone, which is needed for a pregnancy to continue. Misoprostol is used after Mifepristone to encourage a complete medical abortion. Misoprostol can also be used on its own. You can find more information on Misoprostol and Mifepristone usage here.
Where can I buy abortion pills in Bangladesh?
You can buy Misoprostol or the combination of Misoprostol and Mifepristone at pharmacies in Bangladesh; however, a prescription may be required. Prices will vary between pharmacies.
Note: Many pharmacists do sell the pills without a prescription; however, they do not always provide proper instructions on eligibility, dosage, and usage for a medical abortion. Please refer to our website for comprehensive instructions on how to use the abortion pill: https://www.howtouseabortionpill.org/howto/
What do the abortion pills look like in Bangladesh?
The most common brand name for abortion pills in Bangladesh is Cytomis Kit. This is what the Cytomis Kit abortion pills look like:
Photo credit: http://www.inceptapharma.com/product-details.php?pid=587
This is what the Terminex abortion pills looks like:
This is what the Mifeston abortion pills look like:
Photo credit: http://www.inceptapharma.com/product-details.php?pid=544
Who can I contact for additional abortion information and support in Bangladesh?
- Marie Stopes Bangladesh
House # 6/2, block F
Kazi Nazrul Islam Road
Lalmatia Housing Estate
- Naribandhob hotline: 088-01853-892424 (for safe Menstrual Regulation)
- Population Services and Training Center (PSTC)
- Reproductive Health Services Training and Education Program (RHSTEP)
RHSTEP Maternity Clinic Dhaka (MCD) 965, East Shewrapara (1st & 2nd Floor),
Mirpur Dhaka, 1216 Bangladesh +8801628641144, 029001327
Open 24 Hrs
- Family Planning Association of Bangladesh (FPAB)
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- 1 “How Bangladesh Made Abortion Safer.” The New York Times, https://www.nytimes.com/2018/12/28/opinion/rohingya-bangladesh-abortion.html Accessed, 20 July, 2020
- 2 “Menstrual Regulation and Unsafe Abortion in Bangladesh.” Guttmacher Institute, https://www.guttmacher.org/fact-sheet/menstrual-regulation-unsafe-abortion-bangladesh. Accessed, 20 July, 2020.
- 3 “Access to and Quality of Menstrual Regulation and Postabortion Care in Bangladesh: Evidence from a Survey of Health Facilities, 2014.” Guttmacher Institute, https://www.guttmacher.org/report/menstrual-regulation-postabortion-care-bangladesh. Accessed, 20 July, 2020.