September 28, 2022
Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) provides safe abortion care at many of its projects around the world and is working to expand access to these services to more people. While the legal and cultural landscape around safe abortion care continues to change, the clear medical need for it does not. As we mark International Safe Abortion Day on September 28, here is an update on our work and perspective on abortion care now.
What are the medical impacts of criminalizing abortion, based on MSF's experience around the world?
MSF has seen that regardless of legal restrictions, when safe abortion care is not accessible, women and girls* will often turn to dangerous methods to end an unwanted pregnancy.
By Lux Alptraum
JULY 8, 2022
For the past few years, medication abortions have been on the rise in the United States, accounting for 54 percent of abortions performed in 2020 (up from just 39 percent in 2017). With last month’s gutting overturn of Roe v. Wade, that number is now expected to spike even higher despite the legal risks in states where abortion is now criminalized. The reasons are obvious: Medication abortion — a.k.a. “the abortion pill” — offers a safe way to terminate a pregnancy from the comfort of your home, even in places where abortion is criminalized. Clinics may shut their doors and doctors may refuse to provide abortions, but pills remain readily available online.
Nelly Staderini, Doctors Without Borders
February 10, 2022
According to data from the World Health Organization, each year there are seven million hospitalizations due to complications related to unsafe abortion methods. For this reason, access to voluntary termination of pregnancy in humanitarian contexts should be considered a matter of public health, although unfortunately this is not how it is usually interpreted. Doctors Without Borders (MSF) knows first-hand the consequences of unsafe abortion. I personally know of numerous cases of women who have died trying to use sticks, pins, or hangers to terminate a pregnancy. Others ingest soap or laundry detergent, and some are poisoned by herbs or medications that are not indicated for this purpose.
We usually work in contexts where it is very common to receive women who have tried to have an abortion in a medical consultation, although they also go to the emergency services. This fact has a huge impact on our staff. Regardless of the reasons a person may have for terminating a pregnancy, the medical consequences of an unsafe abortion are always the same.
Dr. Melusi Dhlamini shares why he is an activist for sexual and reproductive health and rights.
By Dr Melusi Dhlamini
December 10, 2021
Dr. Melusi Dhlamini is a sexual and reproductive health care provider in South Africa and was named as one of the Mail & Guardian's 200 Young South Africans in 2020.
I was born in the small rural town of Sannieshof, South Africa, in February 1988. I spent most of my early life, until the year I matriculated, between my birth town and Rustenburg.
Raised by my mother and aunt, I became a social justice activist whose values are rooted in intersectional feminism and what it aims to achieve. My activism is underpinned by a desire for gender equality and a world in which your gender and its various expressions; race; and social and economic standing do not negatively affect you. And I carry this into my work every day as a sexual and reproductive health care provider.
The Constitutional Court had been expected to make history Friday, but it didn't happen. Unsafe abortions are the country's fourth-leading cause of maternal mortality.
Nov. 23, 2021
By Albinson Linares, Noticias Telemundo
Women's groups that sued to decriminalize abortion in Colombia are pushing for
a decision after a much-anticipated ruling from the country's top court was
postponed last week.
“The court owes it to women," Catalina Martínez Coral, the Latin America
and Caribbean director of the Center for Reproductive Rights, told Noticias
Médecins Sans Frontières
18 November 2021
Every year, 25 million people worldwide end their pregnancies with unsafe abortions, and 22,800 of them die from the consequences. Despite these grim figures, abortion is often not treated like the essential health care service it is. Here, Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) midwife Nelly Staderini discusses how MSF has incorporated safe abortion into a standard package of health services.
The following Q&A was translated and adapted from an interview with Staderini by the French podcast Programme B.
With a majority vote in the Constitutional Court this week, Colombia could become the first country in Latin America to remove abortion from its penal code.
November 17, 2021
A few months after arriving in Colombia with her three children, Evaluna, a then 22-year-old migrant from Venezuela, discovered she was pregnant.
“I felt scared; I was very depressed,” she said, after finding out the news. “I had no way of maintaining [the baby] because I didn’t have a job.”
28 September 2021
by Dr Manisha Kumar, head of MSF’s task force on safe abortion care
I became an abortion provider almost 10 years ago. Since then, I have helped countless people around the world access safe abortion care. I’ve also witnessed the devastating complications from unsafe abortion when people do not have access to this essential healthcare. Unsafe abortion is one of the main causes of maternal death and suffering worldwide, and the only one that is almost entirely preventable.
An abortion with pills is a game-changer. The simple regimen, taken over 24 hours, has the power to completely revolutionise access to safe abortion care, especially in low-resource and humanitarian settings, where MSF works. Used by millions of people for over 30 years, we have decades of research and experience showing how safe and effective abortion pills are.
SEP 28, 2021
Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières
Abortion is a common experience—people of all ages, ethnicities, nationalities, and religions decide to end their pregnancies for various reasons. Yet in many places across the globe, people who have abortions face harmful stereotypes, blame, and social stigma.
Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) provides safe abortion care and also treats people for the consequences of unsafe abortion, a leading cause of maternal mortality. In 2020, MSF teams provided more than 30,000 safe abortions in our health care facilities around the world. When our teams talk to people who are deciding to have an abortion, we often hear their personal stories. To mark International Safe Abortion Day, September 28, we want to help break abortion stigma by sharing some first-person stories from women in the places where MSF works. We hear from women all over the world—from Colombia to Democratic Republic of Congo, Greece to India—including students, midwives, and people with and without children.
Médecins Sans Frontières/Doctors Without Borders
Mar 12 2021
For many women and girls in New Zealand, the means to initiate self-care is readily available, with sufficient access to contraception, family planning resources and professional advice.
The World Health Organization (WHO) defines self-care as, "the ability of individuals, families and communities to promote health, prevent disease, maintain health and cope with illness and disability, with or without the support of a health-care provider."