Global abortion rights: two steps forward, one step back

According to the Center for Reproductive Rights (CRR) NGO, only 35 percent of women of reproductive age live in countries where abortion is available on demand. It says backstreet abortions lead to 39,000 deaths per year

Sep 30, 2023

Countries around the world take differing stances on abortion, with traditional Catholic bastions like Ireland and Mexico among those lifting bans in recent years, even as the United States abolished nationwide access.

According to the Center for Reproductive Rights (CRR) NGO, only 35 percent of women of reproductive age live in countries where abortion is available on demand. It says backstreet abortions lead to 39,000 deaths per year.

In the wake of International Safe Abortion Day, Here's a look at where it is getting easier to terminate a pregnancy—and where it is getting harder:


On International Safe Abortion Day, women demand access to abortion through strong public health systems

On September 28, health and women’s rights activists are mobilizing to demand universal access to safe abortion and an end to the persecution of reproductive justice advocates

September 28, 2023
by Peoples Health Dispatch

On September 28, health and women’s rights activists worldwide commemorate International Safe Abortion Day, warning against the persisting disparities in access to sexual and reproductive health services in different countries. Numerous international treaties and declarations, such as the 1993 Vienna Declaration, advocate for the universal guarantee of access to safe abortion, and international bodies like the World Health Organization (WHO) actively promote this cause, yet countless women continue to face barriers when seeking this essential health care service.

As part of a global call to action, this year, activists are rallying for the universal decriminalization of abortion, improved access to high-quality post-abortion care, the inclusion of medical abortion pills on national essential medicines lists, and an end to the persecution of reproductive justice advocates, among other objectives.


International safe abortion day: still a vulnerable right worldwide

By Rédaction Africa news with AFP
Sept 28, 2023

Strictly banned in some countries, heavily restricted in others, access to abortion, which is World Day this Thursday, remains a fragile right in the world.

According to the NGO Center for Reproductive Rights (CRR), only 35% of women of childbearing age live in countries where abortion is authorized on simple request. According to the same source, clandestine abortions cause 39,000
deaths per year.

Here is an overview of the right to voluntary termination of pregnancy (abortion) around the world:


Widening access to quality abortion care from the grassroots up

Testimonies of how access to quality abortion make a difference in the lives of women and girls

28 September 2023
World Health Organization

This year, International Safe Abortion Day profiles the unstoppable movement that is shaped by the diverse sexual and reproductive health community around the world, dedicated to protecting and promoting access to abortion care that is safe, affordable, timely and dignified.

In a series of captivating stories, the World Health Organization together with  IBP Network highlights some important key players in this abortion care movement: local nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) and civil society organizations (CSOs). In many parts of the world, these organizations are successfully translating WHO’s research and evidence-based recommendations into concrete actions that support women and girls’ agency and right to health.   


Innovative names for empowering reproductive health

FIGO celebrates World Contraception Day 2023 announcing the winners of the Contraception Reimagined Challenge

26 September 2023
Hannah Agnew, FIGO Senior Communications and Marketing Coordinator

Led by FIGO's Committee on Contraception, the Contraception Reimagined Challenge invited visionary minds from FIGO's membership societies to reimagine the language used in conversations about contraception. 

After careful consideration of all the submissions received, the selection committee are delighted to announce that the winning entries are: 


World Contraception Day 2023: History, Significance, Celebration, Global Impact and Challenges

Nibandh Vinod,
SEPTEMBER 26, 2023

World Contraception Day (WCD) is an annual event observed on September 26. It was first established in 2007 by a coalition of international organizations and advocacy groups, including the International Planned Parenthood Federation, the United Nations Foundation, and the European Society of Contraception and Reproductive Health. The primary aim of World Contraception Day is to raise awareness about contraception, promote safe and accessible family planning methods, and advocate for reproductive health and rights worldwide. The day highlights the importance of contraceptive options in achieving broader societal goals related to health, gender equality, and sustainable development.

World Contraception Day History
World Contraception Day was created to address the global need for comprehensive education and access to contraception. Its origins are rooted in the understanding that family planning and contraception play crucial roles in women’s health, gender equality, and population control.


PEPFAR Reauthorization: The Debate About Abortion

Kellie Moss and Jennifer Kates
Sep 21, 2023

Despite a long history of broad and bipartisan support, reauthorization of the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) is currently being held up by congressional debate around abortion. PEPFAR, first created in 2003 by President George W. Bush and reauthorized three times thus far, is the U.S. government’s signature global health effort in the fight against HIV. Widely regarded as one of the most successful programs in global health history, PEPFAR reports having saved 25 million lives due to its efforts, and KFF analyses have found a significant impact of the program beyond HIV, including large reductions in both maternal and child mortality and significant increases in some childhood immunization rates. Still, its fourth reauthorization has been drawn into broader U.S. political debate about abortion, in the wake of the Supreme Court’s Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization decision (which overturned the nationwide right to obtain an abortion), even though U.S. law prohibits the use of U.S. foreign assistance, including PEPFAR funding, for abortion. This policy watch provides an overview of the current debate and issues.


A brief history of abortion – from ancient Egyptian herbs to fighting stigma today

September 21, 2023
Alisha Palmer

You might be forgiven for thinking of abortion as a particularly modern phenomenon. But there’s plenty of evidence to suggest that abortion has been a constant feature of social life for thousands of years. The history of abortion is often told as a legal one, yet abortion has continued regardless of, perhaps even in spite of, legal regulation.

The need to regulate fertility before or after sex has existed for as long as pregnancy has. The Ancient Egyptian Papyrus Ebers is often seen as some of the first written evidence of abortion practice.


Republican opposition to abortion threatens global HIV/AIDS program that has saved 25 million lives

September 9, 2023

NAIROBI, Kenya (AP) — The graves at the edge of the orphanage tell a story of despair. The rough planks in the cracked earth are painted with the names of children, most of them dead in the 1990s. That was before the HIV drugs arrived.

Today, the orphanage in Kenya’s capital is a happier, more hopeful place for children with HIV. But a political fight taking place in the United States is threatening the program that helps to keep them and millions of others around the world alive.


Sexual and Reproductive Health Is Fundamental to Achieving Universal Health Coverage


World leaders will gather in New York City on Sept. 21 for the 78th session of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) to review progress toward universal health coverage (UHC). They will face this critical moment amid a hostile political climate—sexual and reproductive health (SRH) is being politicized and threatened (both in the U.S. and globally). Powerful anti-rights groups are lobbying to restrict access to critical SRH services and to exclude safe abortion care from health and development initiatives. How can advocates and activists harness this global convening to combat the anti-choice movement while protecting and expanding SRH, including access to safe abortion?

The goal of UHC is to create just and effective health systems that deliver healthcare services that cover everyone, everywhere, regardless of their ability to pay. To be truly just and effective, any UHC package must include comprehensive SRH services so that all people can fully protect their health and exercise their right to bodily autonomy and reproductive self-determination. When access to abortion is restricted, many people are left unable “to determine whether or when they have children and may be forced to continue unwanted pregnancies or end pregnancies in dangerous and degrading ways.”