28 April 2022
FIGO Advocating for Safe Abortion Project
From 9–11 March 2022, in Cotonou, Benin, FIGO’s Advocating for Safe Abortion Project worked with the National College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists of Benin (CNGOB) to organise a capacity building workshop for their counterparts visiting from Mali alongside the Youth Health Workers for Safe Abortion (YHW4SA) – a Beninese network of young pro-choice health professionals set-up in 2021 by CNGOB.
The group attending the workshop was made up of 15 members of the YHW4SA network and five members of the Malian Society of Gynaecology and Obstetrics (SOMAGO).
The aim was to share knowledge and tools on Comprehensive Sexuality Education (CSE) and on best practice to discuss abortion, in order to enable participants to address abortion stigma and strengthen access to safe abortion in their workplaces and wider communities.
10 September 2021
Eunice Themba, AMOG
The Associação Moçambicana de Obstetras e Ginecologistas (AMOG) recently worked with musicians in Mozambique to release a song on sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR), with a focus on access to safe abortion. As part of an awareness-raising campaign, AMOG organised an event for adolescents at Josina Machel Secondary School with musicians Yolanda Kakana from Banda Kakana, and Sistah Áfrika.
Using music to raise awareness of the right to safe abortion
Art, in general, and music, in particular, can – and should – contribute to the fight against maternal and child mortality. Yolanda Kakana and Sistah Áfrika wrote the song “Dura Realidade” (Hard Reality), which tells the story of a girl who intends to end an unwanted pregnancy, to raise awareness of this issue in Mozambique.
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.
3 August 2021
FIGO Advocating for Safe Abortion Project
Riding on the green wave of civil society’s victory in Argentina to achieve the legalisation of abortion upon request up to 14 weeks of pregnancy, FIGO’s Advocating for Safe Abortion Project (ASAP) organised a live-broadcast discussion with OBGYNs and human rights advocates. The discussion unpacked the lessons of how the change in law was achieved and the impact of the law in Argentina and across Latin America.
Argentina’s abortion law is a ground-breaking step in eliminating discrimination against women and girls, and in addressing the scale of unsafe abortion – a public health crisis in Argentina. It is estimated that 500,000 abortions occur every year in Argentina, representing 40% of all pregnancies. Annually, unsafe abortion accounts for 18% of pregnancy-related deaths and more than 50,000 preventable hospitalisations in Argentina.
5 July 2021
FIGO Advocating for Safe Abortion Project|
OBGYNs and midwives are part of an essential ecosystem of health workers that provide crucial health care in delivering women and girls’ sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR) globally. In lower-middle-income countries where health care facilities outside of capitals can be few and dispersed, midwives in particular are counted on to ensure that women, girls, and newborns receive appropriate care, support and counselling. Professor Boni Serge, President of the Society of Gynaecology and Obstetrics of Côte d’Ivoire (SOGOCI), shared with us the important leadership role midwives have in Côte d’Ivoire.
Midwives are critical in the fight to reduce preventable maternal deaths and disability
Data from 2016 showed that, with a population of over 20 million, there are not enough health care workers in this coastal West African country (WHO, 2016). More recent data show that while there are more than 6,000 midwives spread across the Ivorian territory, there are only just over 440 OBGYNs. In addition, there is an unequal geographical distribution of these OBGYNs, with the majority of them located in the Ivorian economic capital of Abidjan.
29 June 2021
Patricia Figuera Ochoa, Communications Officer, SPOG
In Panama, the fundamental and basic rights of women and girls – such as education, work and political participation – continue to be violated. These violations extend to rights in sexual and reproductive health, which should allow women and girls to access services such as prenatal control, contraception and, in specific cases and as permitted by Panamanian law, safe and legal abortion services. The scale of violence against women, adolescent pregnancy and maternal mortality in Panama undoubtedly reflects the existence of a public health problem, which has been exacerbated dramatically by the COVID-19 pandemic.
According to gynecologist and obstetrician Ruth De León, former president of the Panamanian Society of Obstetrics and Gynecology (SPOG) and Focal Point of the Advocating for Safe Abortion Project (ASAP), SPOG remains concerned about the potential risks that the pandemic poses to women. Although care services are open, restrictions could continue to be a trigger for gender-based, domestic and sexual violence, which can cause unplanned pregnancies, as well as possible induced abortions. These, when performed in unsafe environments, could result in the death of the woman or girl.
1 October 2020
Jameen Kaur, Advocating for Safe Abortion Project, FIGO
28 September 2020: on the 100th anniversary of the first law to legalise access to abortion, FIGO stands in solidarity with the international safe abortion campaign calls to strengthen access to telemedicine/self-managed abortion.
In recent months Alexandra Kollontai’s name has been shared within the reproductive rights community. It was Kollontai’s visionary leadership that led to Russia being the first country in the world to legalise abortion in 1920.
FIGO’s Advocating for Safe Abortion Project (ASAP) - celebrating achievements and transforming COVID-19 into an opportunity.
13 August 2020
Olga De Biaggio – ASAP Senior Project Manager
Since its inception in April 2019, the Advocating for Safe Abortion Project (ASAP) has made some clear progress towards strengthening access to safe abortion for women and girls. Every year more than 35 million women have abortions in unsafe conditions, and the need for this intervention, as well as for the prioritisation of essential sexual and reproductive health services in general, could be exacerbated even further by the COVID-19 pandemic. For these reasons, the five strategies used by ASAP are today even more relevant than ever.
Strengthen management and organisational capacity of FIGO’s member societies
All 10 member societies involved in the project have successfully established a Project Management Unit (PMU) and equipped it with the right skills to implement the ASAP’s activities. The project team at FIGO HQ supported capacity building efforts through developing key resources, conducting monitoring visits and trainings, facilitating experience sharing, and providing continuous support remotely in the areas of project management, advocacy, communication and M&E.
Dr Ruth De Leon, Sociedad Panameña de Obstetricia y Ginecología (SPOG) shares how the COVID-19 pandemic is resulting in higher levels of unintended pregnancies in Panama, and as a result places a woman at a greater risk to unsafe abortion and maternal death.
13 July 2020
Dr Ruth de Leon
The Panamanian government implemented preventative measures in January 2020, to ensure that access to and the supply of health care remained strong in order to manage COVID-19. Such measures included suspending elective surgeries, visits and external consultations both in the public and private spheres to free-up slots, in addition to suspending vacations for health workers in the public sector as well as making more beds and resources available within the public and private health sector.
Four days after the first case was confirmed in Panama, on March 13, 2020, a curfew occurred, which started out being flexible, of only 8 hours (from 9:00 pm to 5:00 am), but since then there has been a 24-hour curfew.
Training Providers on Law and Clinical Norms
Mozambique liberalised its abortion law in 2014, granting legal abortion on request in the first 12 weeks of pregnancy, and longer term limits in cases of rape, incest and foetal anomaly. FIGO National Member Society, The Associação Moçambicana de Obstetras e Ginecologistas (AMOG), was proud to support this change in law.
Clinical norms to guide treatment were also made available, and benefitted from AMOG’s technical expertise while being developed. However, barriers that prevent women accessing abortion care remain; although we have the law in place, it is often not being implemented.