Liberia: “Decriminalize Abortion to Reduce Death among Women,” Activists Say

“Many girls and women have died on a daily basis because they cannot access safe and legal abortion,” says  Naomi Tulay-Solanke, the chairperson of the group, Amplifying Rights Network.


Abortion rights activists are calling on the government to decriminalize abortion to ensure that Liberian women have control over their own bodies and reproductive health.

The call by Amplifying Rights Network, a coalition of ten civil society organizations in the field of sexual reproductive health and rights, comes as they claim growing public support for abortion legalization in Liberia.


Decriminalization of abortion in Benin: a solution to reduce female mortality and morbidity?

Kparon Baaru
March 28, 2023

Unsafe abortions are one of the causes of female mortality and morbidity worldwide. According to the WHO, estimates of the number of abortions in Africa stand at 6 million. Of this figure, only 3% are done in medicalized and safe conditions for women. Among the victims who eventually succumb or suffer over time from serious infections, cancer of the cervix or sterility, there are a large number of adolescent girls and young women. To remedy this, a few rare African countries are taking the resolution to legalize voluntary termination of pregnancy (abortion). Among these, is now added Benin. Is the legalization of abortion the solution to reduce clandestine abortions and a step forward in access to sexual and reproductive health rights (SRHR) in Benin?

The WHO defines abortion as a simple health intervention that can be managed effectively by a wide range of health workers using drugs or by surgery. Abortion is a subject that we avoid talking about especially in the presence of adolescents and young people in Africa. This neglected point in the debates is an integral part of SRHR. Adolescents and young people do not have access to reliable information related to sexuality and reproduction as they should.


Historic moment’ as El Salvador abortion case fuels hopes for expanded access across Latin America

Human rights court hears seriously ill woman denied procedure as advocates call for change in region with world’s most restrictive abortion laws

Julia Zulver in San Salvador
Fri 24 Mar 2023

Human rights activists in Latin America hope that a historic court hearing over the case of a Salvadoran woman who was denied an abortion despite her high-risk pregnancy could open the way for El Salvador to decriminalize abortions – and set an important precedent across the region.

The inter-American court of human rights (IACHR) this week considered the historic case of the woman, known as Beatriz, who was prohibited from having an abortion in 2013, even though she was seriously ill and the foetus she was carrying would not have survived outside the uterus.


Countries in the Americas should reinforce abortion protections, rights commission urges

El Salvador “stood out,” the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights said, for 30- and 50-year sentences for homicide even though activists said women suffered miscarriages.

Feb. 1, 2023
By Reuters

MEXICO CITY — The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) on Wednesday called for countries in the Americas to reinforce protections for women and girls seeking abortions, after observing measures that “go backwards” last year.

“Both material and formal measures were observed that go backwards in the guarantee of reproductive rights free of all forms of violence and discrimination,” the IACHR said in a statement.


35 years after Morgentaler, abortion still not available for all in Canada

Thirty five years after the landmark Morgentaler decision the fight continues to ensure that the right to abortion is accessible to all.

by Frederique Chabot and Jill Doctoroff
January 27, 2023

Abortion was decriminalized in Canada 35 years ago this Saturday, January 28. 36 years ago, if you wanted an abortion, it meant sitting in front of a panel of doctors, usually men, who would decide if your abortion was “necessary.” That is, if you could access such a hospital. Not all hospitals created those committees, effectively refusing to provide abortion care at all. If such a committee did deem your story good enough to warrant an abortion—many did not—delays could span weeks.

Today, the legal hurdles are gone, but access is still a privilege not everyone in Canada has, and another question looms: Could what happened in the U.S. happen here too?


UNHRC asks PH to decriminalize abortion as data show ban ineffective, deadly

By: Cristina Eloisa Baclig
November 07, 2022

MANILA, Philippines—The United Nations Human Rights Committee (UNHRC) called on the Philippine government to decriminalize abortion and improve sexual and reproductive health services such as post-abortion healthcare in the country.

UNHRC, in a recently released concluding observation at its 136th session, said it acknowledged the Philippines’ “efforts to reduce unsafe abortion and maternal mortality.”


Philippines told: Decriminalize abortion, legalize divorce, pass anti-discrimination law

Xave Gregorio -
November 5, 2022

MANILA, Philippines — The UN Human Rights Committee is pushing for the Philippines to pass a flurry of legislative reforms aimed at keeping the country in line with an international treaty on civil and political rights.

Among the proposals being brought forward by the UN panel composed of human rights experts are the decriminalization of abortion, the legalization of divorce and the enactment of a comprehensive anti-discrimination law.


Like US, Mexico faces a state-by-state divide over abortion

Differences over abortion have pitted one large batch of U.S. states against another — one group imposing sweeping bans, the other intent on making abortions accessible

Nov 4, 2022

 OAXACA, Mexico (AP) — Differences over abortion have pitted one large batch of U.S. states against another — one group imposing sweeping bans, the other intent on preserving access to abortion. To a remarkable extent, that’s also the case in America’s southern neighbor, Mexico.

Ten of Mexico’s 32 states have decriminalized abortion — most of them in just the past three years. Even in some of those 10 states, for example Oaxaca, abortion-rights activists say they face persisting challenges in trying to make abortion safe, accessible and government-funded.


More than 25 NGOs intensify their fight to legalize abortion in Venezuela

by Lance Vaughn 
September 10, 2022

Some 25 Venezuelan NGOs, grouped in the Ruta Verde platform, intensify their fight to legalize abortion with the collection against the clock of 21,000 signatures that must be attached to the bill on sexual and reproductive rights that they will take to Parliament, which will have to debate if it advances until become normative.

The platform intends for there to be a sexual and reproductive education that provides knowledge about contraceptive methods, abortion in different cases and the options that women have to face unwanted pregnancies.


PHILIPPINES – PINSAN Demands President Keep Promises – Defend Women’s Rights and Decriminalize Abortion

JULY 26, 2022

The Philippine Safe Abortion Advocacy Network
(PINSAN) is calling upon President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. to uphold his promises
and address salient issues by providing clear, decisive platforms, and not just
mere pleasantries. As the highest ranked public servant in the country, it is
the president’s duty to serve the people, uphold human rights, and prioritize
the best interests of every Filipino citizen. PINSAN asserts that pursuing
pro-people laws and projects is the president’s moral and legal responsibility
as the people’s elected leader.

Restrictive abortion laws in the Philippines
remain a threat to women’s safety and welfare, and in a February 2022 interview
with Boy Abunda, President Marcos Jr. took a sympathetic stance on the matter,
citing statistics regarding deaths caused by unsafe abortion complications.
PINSAN is strongly urging the president to support these words by
decriminalizing abortion in the Philippines.

Atty. Clara Rita Padilla, spokesperson of
PINSAN and executive director of EnGendeRights, said, “We urge the president to
certify the Decriminalization of Abortion Bill as a priority measure.  It’s time for our country to repeal this
outdated colonial Spanish law restricting women’s rights to safe abortion. This
discriminatory restrictive law has never reduced the number of women who induce
abortion but only leads them to seek abortion in unsafe methods and

“In 2020, there was an estimated 1.26 million
Filipino women who induced abortion. 
Without access to safe abortion, these women—poor, married, younger than
25 or rape survivors—put their lives and health at risk just to discontinue
their unintended or unwanted pregnancies” Padilla continued. “At least three
women die a day from complications from unsafe abortion.  Abortion is common, a reality.  We urge the president to address this urgent
public health issue.  Make the
Decriminalization of Abortion Bill a priority. 
Decriminalize abortion and help us save the lives of women.”

Jihan Jacob, Senior Legal Adviser for Asia of
the Center for Reproductive Rights said, “Marcos Jr. is faced with the
opportunity to champion for women’s rights and put a stop to the thousands of
preventable deaths and complications that women face because of our
discriminatory laws on abortion.”

During President Marcos Jr.’s first State of
the Nation Address held on the 25th of July 2022, there was strong emphasis on
economic growth and recovery. However, human rights issues, which inevitably
affect and are affected by the country’s economic struggles, were glaringly not

“Restricting abortion has negative economic
implications. Between 2014 and 2016, the payment costs of the Philippine Health
Insurance Corporation (PHIC) for post-abortion care more than doubled (from
PHp250 million to Php570 million)” Jacob commented. “In 2021, dilation and
curettage – a surgical procedure commonly used in the country for post-abortion
care – was among the top ten packages and procedures that PHIC paid for
amounting to Php440 million.”  

Atty. Padilla added, “Apart from being
costly, the national government must exert all efforts to replace D&C with
the WHO-recommended manual vacuum aspiration to treat post-abortion care which
is quicker, less intrusive, less painful and has lower complication rate, highlighting
the vast issues that urgently need to address this public health issue.  Up to now, many health providers are not
effectively trained to provide humane, non-judgmental, and compassionate
post-abortion care.  Women suffering
complications from unsafe abortion are humiliated and threatened with
prosecution.  These human rights
violations must stop.  Even women
suffering complications from natural conditions such as spontaneous abortions,
incomplete abortion and intrauterine fetal demise are subjected to the same

While Pres. Marcos Jr. promised a more
concerted effort to strengthen laws regarding violence against women and
children, the blatant disregard for women’s health and welfare, particularly
the decriminalization of abortion, is unacceptable and further undermines the
impact of our draconian legislature on the safety of our women.

“To minimize public costs and more
importantly to save lives, one of the top priorities must be on decriminalizing
abortion and preventing unsafe abortions,” Jacob continued. “This is the time
for Marcos Jr. to call upon Congress to take immediate steps to amend our laws
and decriminalize abortion.”

She further added that, “the newly elected
House Speaker Martin Romualdez and Senate President Jose Miguel Zubiri owe the
same duty to over a million Filipino women and their families who are
continuing to face the stigma, dicrimination and harmful repercussions of
restrictive abortion laws. As the new leaders of Congress, repealing
discriminatory laws and enacting those that advance the country’s public health
and human rights are of pressing importance."


You can check these resources on the
Decriminalization of Abortion:

1) Read the full text of the Decriminalization of Induced Abortion Bill to Save Lives of Women, Girls and Persons with Diverse Gender Identities drafted by Atty. Clara Rita Padilla for the Philippine Safe Abortion Advocacy Network #SaveWomensLives

The explanatory note is akin to a sexuality
education, gender, gender-based violence, SOGIE, freedom of religion/belief,
right to privacy, human rights module;

2) Rappler Opinion by Clara Rita Padilla: A Filipino woman or girl is raped every 75 minutes. About one in every 8 Filipino women who induce abortion are rape survivors. "Why We Need To Decriminalize Abortion"

3) "Reasons Why We Need to Decriminalize Abortion" by Atty. Clara Rita A. Padilla, Fellow at the International Reproductive and Sexual Health Law Program, Faculty of Law, University of Toronto. [15,000 words]

4)"Here's what you should know about the right to safe abortion" by Clara Rita Padilla, Philippine Star Life, May 26, 2022,

5) Be counted as a supporter of Decriminalization of Abortion and sign the petition at

Feel free to like the Philippine Safe
Abortion Advocacy Network (PINSAN) FB page at and
email us at