Theme 2019: Abortion is healthcare
28 September is the annual day of action in support of the right to safe abortion.
On 28 September, we call on our leaders to act because 25 million women and girls are still having unsafe abortions every year, and thousands of them dying. We need to remind them that unsafe abortion is still a serious public health problem, 25 years after the ICPD Programme of Action committed governments to making unsafe abortion history.
“Abortion is healthcare” is an especially appropriate theme for 2019 in light of the upcoming international meetings that will bring together national leaders who are responsible for global and national health, healthcare systems, and the provision of healthcare – as well as universal health coverage, gender equality and sustainable development.
We need to point out, as we do every year, that if health services would meet the need for safe abortions, there would be almost no injuries or deaths. That medical schools for doctors, midwives, nurses and pharmacists should be training their students in the provision of safe abortions and safe abortion methods. And if they knew how to treat the complications of unsafe abortion for women who have been refused access to safe care, women’s health and well-being would improve greatly.
Yet if you look at the agendas of the conferences on Universal Health Coverage, Sustainable Development, and Population and Development, you will see that the words “safe abortion” are absent thanks to governments who are opposed to gender equality and women’s human rights, among whom the United States and the Russian Federation are acting as leaders, to their shame.
Let’s make our voices heard!! The best way to stop those who seek to control women’s lives through forced pregnancy is to stand up to them. We call on our leaders at home – parliamentarians, ministers of health, health policymakers – and our national representatives at the coming conferences – to stand up and make national commitments from the floor of these conferences to the right to safe abortion and all the associated rights relevant to these agendas.
We call on the members of our networks, our friends and supporters in the wide and diverse range of women’s rights groups, NGOs who support safe motherhood and family planning, health professional associations, legal and human rights bodies and organisations, and those in academia – everyone who supports the right of women to decide over our own bodies and lives – to organise for 28 September.
Lastly, we call on our governments and national public health systems to provide universal access to safe abortion as an essential component of sexual and reproductive healthcare.
Take action on 28 September! Organise a forum, meeting, workshop/training, cultural event. Collect stories of abortion care providers to post on your website or social media, and send them to us. Organise an “Abortion is Healthcare” walk, run or (for the really ambitious) a marathon!
Use every possible platform to spread the word: Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, blogs, print and digital media platforms, statements & press releases, podcasts/videos/webinars, posters, banners and infographics.