Safe abortions for all women who need them – not just the rich, say UN experts

International Safe Abortion Day – Thursday 28 September 2017

Safe abortions for all women who need them - not just the rich, say UN experts

GENEVA (27 September 2017) – Speaking ahead of International Safe Abortion Day, a group of United Nations human rights experts* has called on States across the world to repeal laws that criminalize and unduly restrict abortion and policies based on outdated stereotypes, to release all women in prison on abortion charges and to counter all stigma against abortion. The experts also called for 28 September to become an official UN day for safe abortion worldwide, to help encourage Governments to decriminalize abortion and provide reproductive health services in a legal, safe and affordable manner. Their full statement is as follows:

Continued at source: United Nations, Office of the High Commissioner: http://www.ohchr.org/EN/NewsEvents/Pages/DisplayNews.aspx?NewsID=22167&LangID=E

Read more

Destigmatizing and Decriminalizing Abortion: That’s Our Collective Work

Decriminalizing abortion is a major step toward ensuring that all individuals can end their pregnancies without fear of shame, blame, or prosecution. Shutterstock

Sep 28, 2016, 11:27am Leila Hessini

On this Global Day of Action for Access to Safe and Legal Abortion, we celebrate the millions who make a decision that is the right one for them, their families, and their communities. We celebrate the providers who are committed to truly providing patient-centered care regardless of age, sexual or gender orientation, marital status, reason for abortion, or ability to pay. And we celebrate policymakers and activists who have worked tirelessly to overturn laws that criminalize and penalize women.

Today, September 28, is the Global Day of Action for Access to Safe and Legal Abortion. But is “safe and legal” enough?

Why in the 21st century do we still need a day of action? Who are abortions safe and legal for in today’s world, and who defines what is “safe” and what is “legal”? Are abortions accessible for people who have mobility or sight challenges, sex workers, or those with nonconforming sexual or gender identities? What about for adolescents who must seek parental notification, those who must pay the equivalent of their monthly wages for an abortion, and undocumented people trying to find an abortion provider in Texas?

Answering these questions requires going beyond the “safe and legal” frame to acknowledge the importance of transforming systems, structures, and services to meet the needs of all while also upholding individual autonomy and agency over health care. As members of our communities, health-care workers, and advocates, we must trust that those who can become pregnant know what’s best for them. And we must ensure they have the ability, access to resources, and power to pursue it.

To do that, we must destigmatize, decriminalize, and democratize abortion—here in the United States and worldwide.

Abortion stigma occurs when people are labeled, dehumanized, or discriminated against due to their need for, or association with, abortion. Stigmatization marks individuals who have abortions and health-care professionals who provide them as different and undesirable. Stigma is discrimination, and it provokes different consequences for young people, people with disabilities, or individuals with nonconforming gender or sexual identities, among others. And stigma doesn’t just play out solely at the individual level but also structurally in the systems, structures, and discourses that govern reproductive health care.

Decriminalizing abortion is also immensely important. It’s a major step toward ensuring that all individuals can end their pregnancies without fear of shame, blame, or prosecution. Existing laws are not consistent with individuals’ needs and preferences. Laws and policies must be shaped by those whose rights they seek to uphold. They must also protect, respect, and fulfill women’s autonomy and human rights pertaining to self-administered abortion pills and their availability. In the context of the increased criminalization of women’s self-use of abortion pills, we must also strive to make sure self-use is legalized.

By democratizing access to information, drugs, and care, we can build deeper and more nuanced understanding of different people’s reproductive-health preferences based on their circumstances. All individuals should have access to confidential, accessible, and evidence-based information that is conveyed through familiar communication channels, formats, and languages. At the global level, The World Health Organization has issued guidelines that advance the roles of community health workers and individual women as agents of their own health care. Organizations and networks, such as Women on Web and Women Help Women, have set up hotlines for virtual counseling services and access to pills in settings where abortion is restricted. And, on the ground, community-based groups are recognizing the safety of decentralized care and self-induced abortion during early pregnancy. They are also creating different literacy tools for women to safely terminate an unwanted pregnancy, documenting where women prefer to go for information, and working closely with local groups to increase women’s access to abortion pills.

So today, September 28, we celebrate the millions of women every year who make a decision that is the right one for them, their families, and their communities. We celebrate the providers who are committed to truly providing patient-centered care regardless of age, sexual or gender orientation, marital status, reason for abortion, or ability to pay. We celebrate policymakers and activists who have worked tirelessly to overturn laws that criminalize and penalize women. And we celebrate donors and supporters who know that, with rising anti-woman and repressive politics and practices in so many countries and contexts, funding for progressive movements for social change has never been so important.

When abortions are not only safe and legal but when information, drug access, and medical services are truly informed by those who seek care, and when all peoples have access to care free from stigma, shame or restrictions, that’s when we’ll know we’ve achieved our vision.

Source: Rewire.com

Read more

International Safe Abortion Day: Events Around the World – MORE REPORTS

28 September 2016
UN OHCHR HUMAN RIGHTS EXPERTS: REVISED/TRANSLATED STATEMENT

“Unsafe abortion is still killing tens of thousands women around the world” – UN rights experts warn

AFRICA

Statement by the Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Women in Africa

On this day, September 28, the global day of action for access to safe and legal abortion, and in line with our continental Campaign for the Decriminalization of Abortion in Africa, the African Commission on Human and People’s Rights through the Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Women in Africa, Justice Lucy Asuagbor calls for States to honor their commitments under the African Charter on Human and People’s Rights and the Protocol to the African Charter on Human and People’s Rights on the Rights of Women in Africa; the Maputo Plan of Action; and the Campaign for the Accelerated Reduction of Maternal Mortality in Africa – by decriminalizing abortion in their respective countries.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), unsafe abortion continues to be a public health crisis and one of the largest contributors of maternal mortality and morbidity in Africa, accounting for up to 30% of maternal deaths in many sub-Saharan countries. The WHO estimates that over 6 million unsafe abortions occur in Africa, resulting in 29,000 deaths and countless serious injuries and disabilities every year for African women and girls under the age 25.

We agree with the WHO that making abortion illegal does not reduce abortion rates and neither does it deter women from having abortions. Instead, more women are pushed to the backstreet where they access unsafe abortions. It is time to bring a stop to these deaths.

Criminal laws on abortion are discriminatorily enforced and disproportionately impact the most vulnerable women and girls. Those who are poor, rural and lack education are at the highest risk of police investigations, arrest, prosecution, and imprisonment for unsafe abortions. Furthermore, women who fear prosecution for unsafe abortions often delay or fail to seek treatment at public hospitals or clinics, with adverse effects to their health and lives.

Criminalizing abortion violates many basic human rights, including the right to: life, liberty, security, health, and freedom from torture. Criminal abortion laws discriminate on the basis of sex—they penalize a health service only women need.

It is for these reasons that we join the global movement for a world where all women and girls can be empowered to make their own choices about their reproductive health and lives.

http://www.achpr.org/news/2016/09/d238/

[continued at link]
Source: International Campaign for Women's Right to Safe Abortion

Read more

International Safe Abortion Day: Events Around the World – 28 September 2016

UGANDA
National stakeholder meeting on unsafe abortion 2014
Coalition to Stop Maternal Mortality Due to Unsafe Abortion (CSMMUA)

The Coalition to Stop Maternal Mortality Due to Unsafe Abortion (CSMMUA) is a multi-disciplinary Ugandan civil society coalition founded in July 2012. The Secretariat is maintained by the Center for Health, Human Rights and Development (CEHURD). This year we shall mainly have a social media campaign that includes a few strategic Op Eds in the newspaper and some advocacy messages released on some of our social media platforms. We shall also be supporting our partners from Uganda Network of Young people living with HIV/AIDS(UNYPA) that will be having a community dialogue in the Kampala slum of Kawaala that will include, among other things, testimonies and sharing of stories of abortion experiences by teenagers, health workers and others.

CAMEROON
Women for a Change (Wfac)

Wfac, founded in 2009, is an independent, young women-led organisation working for women's sexual and reproductive health rights, leadership and development. They will be having a strategy meeting with some 20 key college authorities & discipline teachers to map out best approaches in addressing issues around adolescent SRHR and also ensuring comprehensive sexuality education be part of the school policy. They will be tweeting from @WfacCmr & @ZoFem, and sharing updates on their Facebook page. They produced a video called My Story, My Choice for 28 May this year which was accepted at the ArtCity Short Film Festival and will be aired on 4-8 October. And they have also just launched a new Zine at #WfacZine.

[continued at link]
Source: International Campaign for Women's Right to Safe Abortion

Read more

Launching “Watchdog” for International Safe Abortion Day!

Dear friends and colleagues,

Happy Global Day of Action for Access to Safe and Legal Abortion from the Youth Coalition for Sexual and Reproductive Rights!

We're very proud to share with you our September 28 Watchdog --a unique piece of artivism that features the voices of young people from around the world as they speak out for the right to safe and legal abortion.

Please help us share these stories and amplify these voices by sharing the Watchdog through your networks!
Link to the PDF: http://bit.ly/2dpNnOK

Read more