28 September is an annual day of action in support of the right to safe abortion.
Click here for suggestions of campaigning activities for 28 September and all year round.
28 September as an international day of action for decriminalization of abortion was launched in Latin America and the Caribbean in 1990 by the Campaña 28 Septiembre, a regional network of activist groups, who have been organizing activities in support of safe abortion around that date in the region ever since.
In 2011, the Women’s Global Network for Reproductive Rights declared 28 September as an international day and began to motivate activities in other regions.
In 2012, the International Campaign also adopted the Day of Action as one of its most important activities. The Advisory Group agreed it should become the umbrella organization for promoting the day.
Since then, the word has spread. 28 September has become an internationally recognized day for grassroots activism in support of safe abortion. It engages advocates from around the world in a united call to countries and health services to respect, protect and fulfil women’s right to safe abortion.
In 2013, activities were organized in more than 60 countries by national, regional and international NGOs and networks across the world.
In 2014, there were 100 activities in 65 countries. The Day of Action is having an effect. The day itself and the need for safe abortion are increasingly being acknowledged by a growing number of government leaders and in the press and media.
In 2015, we decided to change the name of the day to International Safe Abortion Day. This was for two reasons. First, there were two different names for the day used by two different international women’s groups, one from 1988 and the other from 2011. Both names were long and complicated and were being mixed up with each other on a regular basis. It seemed a good idea to drop them both and have a far simpler one that everyone could remember. Secondly, we decided to try and apply for the day of action to become an official UN day. We felt the new name was more appropriate for this purpose. There were 83 activities were organised in 47 countries again by national, regional and international NGOs and networks across the world. More international NGOs organised activities than previously, but even more importantly, three government ministries worked with NGOs in their countries to organise something for the day – Nepal, DR Congo and France. In addition, although the number of activities did not increase over 2014, the quality and depth of the events organised was greater in many instances, and more groups appeared to be involved in any one activity. Lastly, there was a highly successful international tweetathon on the theme of bust a myth which resulted in millions of tweets.
In 2016, The priority theme was ‘Abortion is not a crime’ #notacriminal #nomoreprosecutions #trustwomen. We called for abortion to be taken out of the criminal law, a moratorium on prosecutions, a release of all prisoners and universal access to safe abortion, and we circulated a statement exemplifying these themes. We also asked the United Nations to recognise the day as an official UN day. In 2016 there were a range of activities in 55 countries globally. The Campaign published 8 newsletters in September and October with reports of activities, including one listing all media reports. Importantly, UN human rights experts published a statement entitled ‘unsafe abortion is still killing tens of thousands of women around the world’ and the Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Women in Africa published a statement calling for abortion to be decriminalised in Africa in line with the Maputo protocol.
Check out our slideshow for more of a history: