Northern Ethiopia Crisis: Sexual and reproductive healthcare

By Julie Taft
20 January 2022

In the Northern Ethiopian regions of Tigray, Amhara and Afar, an estimated 5.2 million people are in dire need of humanitarian assistance, and an estimated 3.5 million people from these regions have been displaced after more than a year of conflict, which began in November 2020. Among them are an estimated 118,000 pregnant women and 1.3 million women of reproductive age, with those figures set to grow with the ongoing crisis.

The dynamics of the conflict in northern Ethiopia remain complex and fluid, but one thing remains clear: at the heart of this crisis are millions of people in need, particularly women and girls.


From ‘Conscientious Objection’ to ‘Conscientiously Committed’ – How OBGYNS can advocate for bodily autonomy in access to safe abortion

1 September 2021
FIGO - Advocating for Safe Abortion Project, Committee on Safe Abortion

In this FIGO Long Read, we provide a round-up of a recent roundtable discussion hosted by FIGO's Advocating for Safe Abortion Project (ASAP) and Committee on Safe Abortion. Together with partners, we explored the critical issue of conscientious objection and its impact on the availability of and access to legal and safe abortion services.

Quote by Laura Gil: Sadly ‘conscientious objection’ has become a widespread  barrier for many people to access the care that they need.   It is very common to hear that women or girls cannot get an abortion on time, got an unsafe abortion, or didn't get  one at all because of ‘conscientious objection‘ from  the available personnel.


Africa – What difference does a law make?

What difference does a law make?

Unsafe abortion – responsible for some 18% of all maternal deaths in sub-Saharan Africa – is one of the most neglected sexual and reproductive health problems in the world today. A new collection in International Journal for Equity in Health aims to shed light on the articulation between the legal, political, social, and cultural conditions that work to enhance or hinder access to safe abortion services.

Marte E. S. Haaland
19 Dec 2019

Worldwide, as many as 19-20 million women resort to unsafe abortions every year. Many of these result in complications that cause considerable damage and even death, making abortion a key issue of women’s health and gender equity. Nevertheless, abortion remains a contentious issue among global health actors, and is often neglected and overlooked. When abortion is addressed, it is commonly discussed in terms of legalization or criminalization, and liberal abortion laws are often understood as synonymous to easy access to abortion services. A recently published collection in the International Journal for Equity in Health scrutinizes this assumption and asks the question: What difference does an abortion law really make for girls’ and women’s access to safe abortion services?


Uganda to conduct a study on abortion rates

Uganda to conduct a study on abortion rates
Findings will highlight deficiencies in safe abortion and post-abortion care services.

By Carol Natukunda
3rd August 2018

KAMPALA - Uganda is participating in cross-country studies on abortion and post-abortion care in Africa and Asia. Researchers seek to find out women’s knowledge of abortion methods and sources, the incidence of induced abortion, how women terminate pregnancies, and the extent of unsafe abortion.

In addition to direct questions on abortion, the female survey module includes questions about the respondents’ two closest friends and their experiences with abortion.


Ethiopia: Comprehensive abortion care to decline maternal death

Ethiopia: Comprehensive abortion care to decline maternal death

May 3, 2018

Self-induced abortion, or the deliberate termination of pregnancy is one of the most controversial issues in legal discourse. As a legal issue, abortion is usually discussed in light of the principles of criminal law. Depending on circumstances, however, abortion can also be discussed from the standpoint of constitutional law.

In the former case, the issue usually takes the form of criminalizing or decriminalizing the act, while in the latter, the issue becomes whether a pregnant woman has a constitutional right to terminate her pregnancy. The issue thus usually involves the competing arguments in favor of the "right" of the fetus to be brought onto life (i.e. personhood) vis-à-vis the right of the mother to abortion based on her interests and choice.


First Study on the Incidence of Abortion Among Ethiopian Adolescents Released

First Study on the Incidence of Abortion Among Ethiopian Adolescents Released
Improved Access to Safe Abortion Has Benefited Adolescent Women

March 14, 2018
News Release

A new study finds that adolescent women have benefited greatly from the 2005 expansion of Ethiopia’s abortion law that gave them access to safe, legal abortion services. “Playing it Safe: Legal and Clandestine Abortions Among Adolescents in Ethiopia,” conducted by researchers from the Guttmacher Institute and Ipas, documents for the first time legal and clandestine abortion rates among Ethiopian adolescents (aged 15–19), and the severity of abortion-related complications in this age-group. The study found that adolescents are more likely than older women to obtain legal abortion services, and that complications from unsafe abortion are just as severe among adolescents as they are among other age-groups.


The Global Gag Rule Is Harming Women Around The World

The Global Gag Rule Is Harming Women Around The World — EXCLUSIVE

By Nancy Northup & Anu Kumar
Feb 19, 2018

Jan. 23 marks one year since President Donald Trump reinstated and expanded the Mexico City Policy, which bans overseas organizations that receive U.S. funding from using their own money to provide abortion information, referrals, or to advocate for law reform. The policy, also known as the Global Gag Rule, not only harms women and girls around the world, it disproportionately impacts countries home to mainly people of color. It embodies the “America First” ideological imperialism and reliance on strong-arm coercion that have shaped and defined this administration’s first year.

Every Republican president since Ronald Reagan has implemented the gag rule, using foreign policy to bully countries on abortion for decades. Since 1973, global health organizations have been working under the Helms Amendment, an egregious policy that bans any U.S. foreign aid funds from being used for abortion services. This policy remains in effect, and the gag rule bolsters it. Despite the Helms Amendment, in recent years the global community has made progress in expanding access to reproductive health care, particularly safe abortion.


Nearly Half Of All Abortions Unsafe In Developing Countries

Nearly Half Of All Abortions Unsafe In Developing Countries

October 3, 2017
Susan Brink

Of the 56 million annual abortions performed around the world, nearly half, or 25 million, posed some threat to the health or life of the woman. The vast majority of unsafe abortions – 97 percent — were performed in developing countries in Africa, Asia and Latin America.

And about half of those abortions in poor countries are unsafe, compared with just 12.5 percent in wealthy countries, according to a report in last week's issue of The Lancet, the British medical journal.

Gilda Sedgh, an author of the paper, is a scientist at the Guttmacher Institute, a sexual and reproductive rights research organization. We talked with her about the problem of unsafe abortions in low-income countries. This interview has been edited for length and clarity.

Continued at source:

Tedros can draw on Ethiopia’s lessons on abortion

Opinion: Tedros can draw on Ethiopia's lessons on abortion

by Saba Kidanemariam 05 July 2017

The past decade has seen tremendous progress toward women’s sexual and reproductive health and rights around the world, especially access to safe abortion. As Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus takes the helm of the World Health Organization as its new director-general, we can’t go backwards. Women’s and girls’ lives are at stake. Tens of thousands of women die, and millions more are injured when they have no choice but to turn to unsafe “back-alley” abortions.

In Ethiopia, the government, health providers and civil society worked together to make abortion safe and accessible. Why? As in many countries in Africa and other parts of the world, unsafe abortion was a major cause of death or injury for women in Ethiopia. Women who are young and poor are most affected. And we know from experience and research that restricting access to abortion doesn’t make it safe and doesn’t make it rare.

Continued at source: Devex:

Four priorities on women’s health for new WHO chief Dr. Tedros Ghebreyesus

Opinion: 4 priorities on women’s health for new WHO chief Dr. Tedros Ghebreyesus
By Shannon Kowalski
23 May 2017

Today, the race to head the global health agency charged with responding to pandemics and setting health policy has culminated with the selection of Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus. As next director-general of the World Health Organization, Tedros will take the helm as countries such as the United States are stepping up their efforts to roll back progress on women’s and girls’ sexual and reproductive health and rights.

The next WHO director-general is Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus. The former minister of health of Ethiopia was elected as the new leader of the U.N. global health body by the World Health Assembly on Tuesday.

In this context, it will take a particularly courageous leader to ensure that the world’s prominent health body does not let politics trump evidence. Instead, the WHO’s new leader must take the bold action needed to ensure that every woman and girl everywhere can exercise her right to control her body, protect her health and live a healthy, empowered life.

Here are four priorities for women and girls that should be at the top of Tedros’ agenda.

Continued at source: Devex: