Fostering a supportive and non-judgmental environment for women seeking abortion care

18 April 2024

Ivonne Diaz, Director of Division of SRHR, and Laura Gil, Chair of Committee on Safe Abortion

As part of FIGO’s ongoing commitment to advancing sexual and reproductive rights, the FIGO Committee on Safe Abortion would like to commend and highlight the exemplary work of the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (RCOG), which has recently issued guidance for healthcare professionals on involving the police following abortion and pregnancy loss.

The guidance is designed to foster a supportive and non-judgmental environment for women seeking care related to abortion, pregnancy loss, or unattended delivery. These guidelines emphasise the importance of treating women with dignity, respect and compassion, regardless of their reproductive choices or circumstances.


Women’s bodies being turned into ‘battlegrounds’—UN

Agence France-Presse
April 18, 2024

GENEVA, Switzerland — Women’s bodies have become political “battlegrounds,” putting at risk 30 years of progress on sexual and reproductive health for women and girls, the United Nations warned on Wednesday.

Though maternal mortality rates and unwanted pregnancy rates have been steadily falling, progress is now slowing or even flatlining on key measures, said the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), the UN’s sexual and reproductive health agency.


Report: Decades of progress in sexual, reproductive health being rolled back

April 17, 2024
By Lisa Schlein

GENEVA — Decades of progress in sexual and reproductive health are being rolled back with the poorest, most vulnerable members of society at greatest risk of losing out on lifesaving services, according to the 2024 State of World Population report.

The report, issued Wednesday by the U.N. Population Fund, UNFPA, says, “The data are damning.”


Women’s Bodies Being Turned Into ‘Battlegrounds’: UN


April 17, 2024

Women's bodies have become political "battlegrounds", putting at risk 30 years of progress on sexual and reproductive health for women and girls, the UN warned Wednesday.

Though maternal mortality rates and unwanted pregnancy rates have been steadily falling, progress is now slowing or even flatlining on key measures, said the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), the UN's sexual and reproductive health agency.


FIGO at 70: Our journey towards improving sexual and reproductive rights with the Advocating for Safe Abortion Project

As FIGO celebrates its 70th anniversary, we mark the vital role the Advocating for Safe Abortion (ASA) Project has had in improving the sexual and reproductive health and rights of people in lower income and lower middle-income countries. Here we reflect on the project's evolution, successes and enduring legacy.

11 April 2024
Jessica Morris

Building on strong foundations
The ASA Project launched in 2019 expanding on the work of the 2007 Prevention of Unsafe Abortion Initiative. A testament to FIGO's continuous commitment to sexual and reproductive rights, the project has become a vital piece of FIGO's efforts to address critical issues surrounding access to safe abortion. The ASA Project’s work focuses on implementing a dual pillar approach which supports societies to become stronger institutions and national leaders of SRHR, as well as implementing multi-pronged strategies to improve access to safe abortion.

Our work with national member societies – driven advocates, catalysing change
Through partnership with 12 national member societies in Latin America and sub-Saharan Africa, The ASA Project has emphasised the need for intersection of medical expertise and rights-based advocacy in diverse contexts. 


Recognising the huge gains for all from liberating girls and women

BMJ 2024; 385 doi:
Published 09 April 2024
Richard Smith, chair

Winston Churchill famously said that “there is no finer investment for any community than putting milk into babies”—but perhaps he was wrong. Perhaps the baby might be the eighth child of an exhausted mother who began having children in her teens, or the baby might grow up to become a mother as a teenager and die in childbirth or from an unsafe abortion. Lois Quam, author of the recently published Who Runs the World: Unlocking the Talent and Inventiveness of Women Everywhere, might disagree with Churchill and make a case for investing in women and girls. There is strong evidence that such investment will “bolster good governance, economic growth, community health, and peace and stability.”

We live in an age of “polycrisis”—climate change, environmental destruction, war and impending greater wars, poverty, gross inequality, hunger, and forced migration. A polycrisis, argues Quam, needs a “multifix” and the best one will be to set free the talent, energy, and new ideas of women—half of humanity, who at the moment are largely constrained by lack of education and opportunity, and reproductive burdens.


U.S. Supreme Court Challenge to Abortion Pills Could Boost Illegal Imports

Safeguarding access to pills from online foreign distributors may become a flashpoint in the reproductive care battle

by Chloe Searchinger
April 5, 2024

After hearing oral arguments last week, the Supreme Court appeared dubious of the plaintiff's legal challenge to the abortion pill in Food and Drug Administration (FDA) v. Hippocratic Alliance of Medicine, the latest major abortion case since Dobbs v. Jackson overturned the constitutional guarantee to an abortion. Even though this outlook could lead pro-choice activists to breathe a minor sigh of relief and temporarily quell Big Pharma's fear over other challenges to FDA approvals, one indirect consequence regardless of the case outcome is the growing American reliance on imported abortion pills from overseas. 

This manner of accessing abortion has been increasing in popularity since Dobbs, and safeguarding the provision of these pills from unapproved foreign distributors could soon become a flashpoint in the American battle over reproductive care, given that these imports are illegal because they operate outside the formal U.S. health-care system and beyond FDA oversight. 


Meta and Google accused of restricting reproductive health information

Report claims posts on abortion and contraception have been deleted while misinformation on the feeds of social media users in Africa, Latin America and Asia has not been tackled

Weronika Strzyżyńska
Wed 27 Mar 2024

Meta and Google are accused in a new report of obstructing information on abortion and reproductive healthcare across Africa, Latin America and Asia.

MSI Reproductive Choices (formerly Marie Stopes International) and the Center for Countering Digital Hate claim the platforms are restricting local abortion providers from advertising, but failing to tackle misinformation that undermines public access to reproductive healthcare.


The Terrifying Global Reach of the American Anti-Abortion Movement

Conservatives have not limited their attack on reproductive rights to the United States. They’ve been busy imposing their will on other countries, too—with disastrous consequences for millions of poor women.

Jodi Enda
March 18, 2024

Because Editar Ochieng knew the three young men, she didn’t think twice when they beckoned her into a house in an isolated area near the Nairobi River. One was like a brother; the other two were her neighbors in the sprawling Kenyan slum of Kibera.

Ochieng did not know the woman who performed her abortion. She and a friend scoured Nairobi until they found her, an untrained practitioner who worked in the secrecy of her home and charged a fraction of what a medical professional would. Mostly, what Ochieng remembers is the agony when this stranger inserted something into her vagina and “pierced” her womb. “It was really very painful. Really, really, really painful,” she told me. Afterward, Ochieng said, she cut up her mattress to use in place of sanitary pads, which she could not afford. She was 16 years old.


How the US Christian Right Funds Anti-Abortion Activities Abroad

Right-wing US groups have spotted an opportunity to ramp up their activities since Roe v. Wade’s repeal.

MARCH 13, 2024

In April 2023, Janet K. Museveni, Uganda’s first lady, published a photo on social media that rang serious alarm bells for advocates of reproductive and LGBTQ rights. The photo sparked concern because of a specific person in it: Sharon Slater, who heads the US nonprofit Family Watch International. The organization describes its work as “strengthening the family,” but the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) has designated it as a hate group for its efforts to “further anti-LBGT and anti-choice stances.”

The SPLC is one of several rights groups and monitors that have called attention to the work of Slater and Family Watch International. More worrisome still, the photo of Museveni and Slater came shortly after Uganda’s parliament passed harsh anti-gay legislation that allows for a life-sentence for adults convicted of engaging in consensual, same-sex intercourse. Family Watch International did not reply to a request for comment, but the group has previously denied claims it had lobbied or advocated for the bill.