MARA-MEDITERRANEAN – A new project for the right to abortion in the Mediterranean

Following the experience of RAWSA MENA, we are launching a new project which aims to create a movement for the right to abortion in the Mediterranean: MARA-Mediterranean. Our objective is strengthening the capacities of feminist organisations that are starting or planning to start advocacy work to decriminalise abortion in the countries of the southern Mediterranean. As members of the regional network of the International Campaign for Women’s Right to Safe Abortion, we also aim to develop an exchange and partnership between countries on both sides of the Mediterranean to share experiences and lessons learned, as well as solidarity between feminist organisations in the Mediterranean region.

What is MARA 

MARA (Movement for Access and Right to Abortion) is a movement of regional health and human rights activists committed to building support and a vibrant intersectional network of advocates for safe abortion in the Mediterranean region. At MARA-Med, we focus on feminist approaches, learning and capacity building across the region with an emphasis on grassroots activities and policy openings towards broader support for and recognition of abortion access as a basic human right for women in the Mediterranean region. As part of an integral network of global advocates we strive to share and learn from other regional feminist movements and efforts to expand abortion rights and access.

Who we are

Our movement is facilitated by passionate health professionals, researchers, advocates, lawyers, students, youth, feminist activists, and policymakers from across the region who are dedicated to cross-cutting collaboration for advancing abortion rights and access across the Mediterranean region and globally, for abortion access and rights. Movement members are based across the different countries of the Mediterranean, including France, Palestine, Tunisia, Syria, and Turkey. Our members bring their unique global, regional and local expertise to the movement and work closely with grassroots organisations, activists, and advocates to harness the power of creative thinking and strategic approaches for change that bolsters abortion ecosystems across the region.

Our mission, vision and guiding principles

The right to abortion implies respect for women’s fundamental rights, which must be assured and protected. The right to abortion is transversal and implies women’s freedom to have control over their bodies, to respect their physical integrity and to free choice. A recognition that restrictions, prohibitions or criminalisation of abortion and all other obstacles to access should be removed as they only endanger women’s lives and violate their basic human rights, including the right to life, the right to determine if and when to have children, the right to privacy and the right to bodily integrity — among others. The urgent need for applying evidence-based approaches to access and global best practices.

Silence around abortion due to political, social and religious pressures discriminates against women and is hindering them from living healthy and fulfilling lives. Feminist approaches to empowering women and girls must recognise the value of sexual and reproductive health and rights, including safe abortion.

How we work 

We work to raise awareness about the impact of unsafe abortion in the Mediterranean region and across the world and to sensitive decision-makers, stakeholders, communities and people about their right to abortion. We strive to promote a feminist, rights-based approach to advocacy and pathways to care by working intersectionally within and across countries with the aim to engage in:

  • Sensitization around the impact of unsafe abortion.
  • Advocacy for more inclusive SRHR language and policies that recognise abortion as a key component of healthcare.
  • Capacity building of local actors and grassroots partners, including health advocates, policymakers, and feminist organisations on integration of abortion rights as part of the health and rights agenda: as a priority and an inalienable human right.
  • Knowledge generation and dissemination of experiences and lessons learned from across the regional and globally.
  • Solidarity in addressing and mitigating the impact of the growing and increasingly bolder anti-choice opposition in the region.

Why we do this work 

We believe that every individual should have the right to make decisions about their body and lives and that abortion should be accessible to all who need and want it. We envision a world where peoples’ reproductive decisions are respected, where no one is denied an abortion and where all individuals have access to safe, legal, free and quality abortion care. Our goal is to bring forward community change, by helping overcome stigma around abortion, shifting policies and mindsets, and removing obstacles and ill-informed policies that hinder women’s rights to safe abortion in the Mediterranean region.

Where we work 

MARA is a regional initiative of ASFAMM (Association for the Health of Women in Africa, the Maghreb, and the Middle East), an NGO based in Paris, France. ASFAMM was founded in 2018 by Dr Selma Hajri to help address health disparities across these regions, with a focus on projects benefiting Francophone countries across these regions, often not receiving equal attention and resources to address health disparities. Abortion was identified early as a priority issue impacting women’s health and lives. MARA movement members are a transnational community and part of a dynamic cross-border movement. We work with grassroots, national, regional as well as international organisations. We cooperate with advocacy groups, networks, researchers, service providers and civil society organisations working on abortion, sexual and reproductive health and rights, reproductive justice, women’s rights and human rights, and feminist movement building.

Where we focus our efforts is largely contingent on the probability for impacting change at the policy and services level. Our members have a long history of working to effectively expand abortion access in the region, including France, Turkey, Tunisia, Egypt and Palestine. For 2023, Morocco has been added as a priority country given national debate and movement around potential legalisation and expansion of abortion. We also collaborate with a wide range of NGO and grassroots accompaniment and tele-health providers such as IPPF, Women on Web and MAMA to help expand access to information and support where facility-based services are restricted.

If you are interested in joining or supporting MARA, please contact: for information on our upcoming events.

Here are links to our social platforms:

Instagram: mara_mediterrannean

Facebook: MARA Mediterranean

Twitter: @MARA_mediterra

You can also find information about us here in French and in Arabic!!

CONTACT: MARA Mediterranean,