More Statements – Activities – Publications For 28 September


Today, International Safe Abortion Day, brings to the fore the need for accessible, legal, safe abortion for women globally. The African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights on the Rights of Women in Africa (the ‘Maputo Protocol’), adopted on 11 July 2003, is the main legal instrument for the protection of the rights of women and girls in Africa. The Maputo Protocol was the very first treaty to recognize abortion, under certain conditions, as women’s human right, which should be enjoyed without restriction or fear of being prosecuted.The African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights (ACHPR) notes that many countries are yet to undertake the necessary legislative reforms towards domesticating the relevant provisions of the Maputo Protocol. The continued criminalization of abortion – and difficulties faced by women in accessing safe and available abortion services, including in cases where abortion is legalized – remains a challenge on the continent.As we commemorate this global day of action, we note with regret that unsafe abortions threaten the lives of women and girls in Africa. This represents a grave public health  concern, with poor, rural and young woman in Africa  facing the highest risks and forced to pay with their lives. Legally restricting abortion in Africa drives abortions underground. Criminalization of abortion is killing women in Africa.

Decriminalizing abortion will reduce maternal mortality rates in Africa and enable African states to meet their SDG goals. Criminalization of abortion is an expression of indifference to the plight of women and girls in Africa, who are forced to use unsafe methods to terminate unwanted pregnancies.

The ACHPR, through the mechanism of the Special Rapporteur on Women’s Rights, continues to urge Member States to:

1. Ratify the Maputo Protocol where they have not, and remove reservations, including to Article 14 (2) (c);

2. Domesticate the Maputo Protocol, including by removing barriers to access such as criminal abortion laws, as well as administrative barriers, including third party notification.

I urge all member States and civil society organizations to continue supporting the ACHPR campaign on decriminalization of abortion in Africa because African women and girls are counting on all of us to save their lives: Decriminalize Abortion in Africa!



Why do politicians still force women through unwanted pregnancies? 

“When I entered parliament in 1976 as the only female member, I took a stand and managed to do what many countries have failed to do, or are threatening to undo: decriminalise abortion. Recently, President Michelle Bachelet of Chile succeeded in advancing legislation that made abortion legal under certain circumstances. Chile’s new law is only a first step in providing full access to safe abortion care, but it is a momentous change that required the vision of a strong, outspoken, female leader who took a stand on saving women’s lives.

“In Barbados, before we changed the law, women and healthcare providers could be criminally prosecuted for seeking or assisting with abortion services. At the time, I would read the obituary sections of newspapers and highlight the deaths of young women. Their deaths haunted those of us on the frontline, for we suspected many were caused by unsafe abortions. Barbados’s parliament had considered the issue before, but never found the will to replace the punitive, colonial-era law. When I became the minister of health – the first woman ever to hold a cabinet position – I saw it as an opportunity to change the status quo. I was vastly outnumbered, but I spoke out and sought to persuade my male colleagues. If they were serious about improving health for women in Barbados, this was an issue they could not ignore. Civil society groups, like the Barbados Family Planning Association, maintained the pressure on my colleagues, noting that the majority of women in our country – young, middle-aged, single, married, mothers and those without children – wanted a full range of options when deciding when and if to start a family or have more children, including whether to continue a pregnancy.

“Outside government, I needed broad grassroots support. Armed with data and women’s stories, I travelled the country and talked to anyone who would listen, including religious leaders, medical providers, social workers and educators. As support grew, it encouraged my government colleagues to recognise safe abortion care as an essential medical service. Finally, in 1983 – seven years after I started my campaign – parliament passed the Medical Termination of Pregnancy Act, allowing women throughout the country to access abortion services legally and safely.

“On International Safe Abortion Day, we are reminded that saving women’s lives requires resistance and persistence. In Barbados, I spoke out. Many women and more than a few good men came along – and it made all the difference.”




Abortion is a human right not a crime

Contrary to popular belief abortion is not illegal in Africa. There isn’t a single country in Africa that denies abortion completely.  On this international day I would like to remind us that abortion is a human right and not a crime. African leaders recognized this when they adopted an African legal instrument, the Maputo Protocol, which among other rights guarantees African women the right to access safe and legal abortion in circumstances of sexual assault, rape, incest and when the pregnancy endangers the mental and physical health or the life of the woman. The intention of the Maputo Protocol is to give African Union Member States the minimum standards to inform national policies and laws. Governments can save women’s lives by putting in place liberal laws that allow women to access safe and legal abortions when they want them; ratifying the Maputo Protocol with no reservation on Article 14; increasing access to modern contraceptives; ensuring comprehensive sexuality education; increasing resources for sexual and reproductive health and rights, both the provision of services and support for advocacy-related programmes for abortion rights and services; and putting in place guidelines for providing abortion-related services and training service providers.

FEMNET will continue mobilizing women’s rights organizations in Africa to hold Governments accountable to guaranteeing women and girls’ bodily integrity and autonomy, including abortion rights for African women. We join the global campaign on 28 September to resist patriarchy and other systems of oppression that continue to treat women as second-hand citizens, and in some instances as property, by denying them their rights. We persist in collectiveness and remain in solidarity with all the women who are forced to undertake unsafe abortion.





#Poder elegir  

Como cada año este día emblemático, El Consorcio Latinoamericano contra el Aborto Inseguro – CLACAI y todas las organizaciones y personas que la integran realizan un llamado para la despenalización y la ampliación del acceso al aborto legal y seguro en la región, como derecho humano de todas las mujeres.

El derecho al aborto legal y seguro es parte del derecho de las mujeres a la autodeterminación sobre sus propios cuerpos: a su derecho a decidir. Sin embargo, este derecho todavía no está garantizado en la región, ocasionando un elevado número de abortos en condiciones clandestinas e inseguras que, en muchas ocasiones, ocasionan muertes maternas totalmente innecesarias y evitables.

El aborto sigue totalmente prohibido sin excepciones en cinco países latinoamericanos: El Salvador, Nicaragua, Honduras, República Dominicana y Haití. Se permite solamente para salvar la vida de mujer en Guatemala, Paraguay y Venezuela; y en el resto de países, es posible acceder al aborto de acuerdo a ciertas causales, si bien continúa estando criminalizado. El acceso sin restricciones solamente se contempla en Cuba, Ciudad de México y Uruguay.

De acuerdo a este panorama, las mujeres siguen enfrentando diversas barreras para acceder a los servicios de aborto sin riesgos, aun en aquellas circunstancias en las que el aborto es legal. Entre tales barreras, se encuentran: la falta de acceso a la información, la imposibilidad de pagarlo, la falta de apoyo social, los retrasos en la prestación de atención médica, las actitudes negativas de los profesionales de la salud, la calidad deficiente de los servicios, la ausencia de acceso a servicios asequibles, la exigencia de la autorización de un tercero y restricciones sobre el tipo de proveedores de salud y de instalaciones que pueden proveer servicios legalmente, entre otras.

Es por todo ello que todas y todos los integrantes de CLACAI reivindicamos en este día la urgente necesidad de:

> Promover leyes en la región que mejoren el acceso de las niñas, adolescentes y mujeres a servicios de aborto seguro y a desafiar los intentos de restringir dicho acceso.
> Luchar y exigir la ampliación de las causales de aborto para reducir el número de procedimientos clandestinos y la criminalización de mujeres por aborto.
> Mejorar el acceso a servicios de aborto seguro para las mujeres, que cumplan con los criterios legales.
> Procurar la mejora y expansión de la provisión de atención postaborto para reducir los altos niveles de morbilidad y mortalidad que resultan del aborto inseguro.

#UnGritoGlobal por el #AbortoLegal




Médecins du Monde réaffirme son engagement

A l’occasion de la journée internationale pour l’accès à la contraception (26 septembre) et de la journée de mobilisation internationale pour le droit à l’avortement (28 septembre), Médecins du Monde réaffirme son engagement pour le droit des femmes et des filles à décider librement de leur sexualité, de leur santé, de leur vie. L’accès à l’avortement demeure impossible car pénalisé ou socialement condamné dans plus de 100 pays obligeant les femmes à recourir à des interventions non médicalisées et dangereuses. « Les droits sexuels et reproductifs sont des droits humains fondamentaux qui découlent des principes de liberté, d’égalité à la santé ainsi que du respect de la vie privée, à l’autonomie, à l’intégrité et à la dignité de tout individu. Le droit à la contraception et le droit à l’avortement sont essentiels et complémentaires à l’autonomie des femmes. Ces enjeux vont au-delà du secteur de la santé » insiste le Dr Françoise Sivignon, Présidente, Médecins du Monde. En partenariat avec la société civile locale et en appui aux autorités de santé, Médecins du Monde agit aussi bien dans les zones de crises que le long du parcours migratoire, pour faire reculer la mortalité maternelle et faire évoluer les politiques et les pratiques qui entravent la capacité des femmes à agir pour elles-mêmes.




On September 28, 2017, Pathfinder International reaffirms its commitment to safe and legal abortion for women everywhere. It is a tragedy that so many women die from complications of unsafe abortion each year. Access to safe, legal abortion is limited—by law, stigma, distance to services, lack of knowledge or understanding about the law, lack of trained providers, and cost. Pathfinder believes access to safe and legal abortion is an integral part of a woman’s right to decide whether and when to have children. We are especially proud to partner with communities to overcome the stigma and barriers that result in higher mortality for young women from unsafe abortion. On this day of action, Pathfinder and the hundreds of other participating organizations call to increase access to legal and safe abortion so that women and girls around the world can choose their own healthy path forward.



Bangkok: Pro-Voice 4: Abortion 4G

The Choice Network of Thailand, with over 80-member organisations, held the 44th meeting under the ‘Pro-Voice 4: Abortion 4G’ on 27 September. We aim to make all options available to women experiencing an unintended pregnancy. This meeting also wished to celebrate the solidarity and support health services for safe and legal abortion. The morning session began with our look-back on ‘Pro-Voice 3: Safe and Legal Abortion’, held last year. Then, we held the panel on ‘Abortion 4G: Good Technology, Good Service, Good Law and Good Life’ with speakers who are an obstetrician-gynaecologist from a medical school, an abortion provider, a law professor, and women who have had an abortion. For the afternoon session, we organised the ‘Jackson Movie Talk’, with speakers from an NGO, a feminist group and a university medical hospital. Finally, we ended our event by celebrating with an ‘Abortion Rights Campaign Walk’ to raise awareness for accessing safe and legal abortion.



Roundtable on Safe Abortion in Armenia

On September 28, members of the Pan-Armenian Family Health Alliance held a roundtable in Yerevan, coordinated by the Family Health Care Network. The participants stated that there are still social, financial and physical barriers in Armenia for access to comprehensive safe abortion care and post-abortion contraception, especially for sexually active unmarried, rural, low income, and disabled women. These main causes of unregistered self-induced, unsafe and life-threatening abortions for girls and women in Armenia have to be urgently removed through provision of information on available family planning and safe abortion services, reducing the cost, changing public attitudes and behaviours, improving the quality of abortion care and physical access for vulnerable groups. The participants of the roundtable made a public statement calling on the United Nations, its agencies and human rights bodies, and all national leaders – both governmental and non-governmental – to stand up for safe abortion for everyone with an unwanted pregnancy who requests it. This statement was shared through social media and the press and has been submitted for the attention of Special Rapporteur Mr. Dainius Pūras, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights.


The Abortion Pill: Facts You Can Swallow

Today, in celebration of #InternationalSafeAbortionDay, Lady Parts Justice League released “The Abortion Pill: Facts You Can Swallow,” our latest video in our pursuit to bust some of the biggest myths and misinformation around abortion. In this video, we set the record straight and shatter the lies and stigma around the Abortion Pill. Brilliantly using the clichés from pharmaceutical ads, “The Abortion Pill” hilariously highlights the facts, making it crystal clear how easy and simple it is to have a medical abortion. This video was created with an award from the Mifepristone Coalition.




Mobilisation for the right to abortion, 28 September 18:00, Place de la Republique, Paris, France.




WHO Safe Abortion Infographics :



We worked with partners from the different regions and volunteer illustrators in the creation and design of comic strips that ultimately formed an abortion advocacy booklet. The goal was to provide an accessible, user-friendly tool for individuals, activists and allies to learn about the diverse ways and strategies that groups, organizations and individuals have been using around the world in their fight towards access to safe and legal abortion; draw inspiration; and strategize in focus groups, workshops and community events how the different strategies can be adapted and replicated in their local contexts. Participating partners: Sexual and Reproductive Justice Coalition, PINSAN, Fondo MARIA, SHE DECIDES, Spectra, Hidden Pockets, ASTRA Network.

FULL REPORT: WGNRR Newsletter, 28 September 2017






This #Sept28 we’re highlighting findings about anti-choice tactics, from the #RightsAtRisk report.

REPORT:  #IResistWePersist



28 Septembre : Journée Internationale du Droit à l’Avortement

En plus de porter atteinte au droit à la santé et à la vie des femmes en annihilant leur droit à disposer de leurs corps, le Maroc a fait le choix d’infliger des sanctions pénales aux femmes qui ont recours à ces interventions et au personnel de santé qui les pratiquent. Ces articles de lois qui poussent les femmes à avorter dans la clandestinité sont violentes et parfois mortelles.

Rappel : 21 millions d’avortements par an sont à risque. 8 millions de femmes par an souffrent de complications liées à un avortement à risque dont 5 millions sont hospitalisées. 98% des avortements à risque ont lieu dans les pays en voie de développement. #ivg




VIDEOMensaje de año nuevo de Rosa Hernández- Rep. Dominicana 

Queremos compartirles la batería de trinos que hemos preparado para el 28 de septiembre. Nuestro aporte, más allá de los trinos, es un video “casero” muy corto, de minuto y medio, en el que exponemos de manera sencilla dos casos de la vida real (Esperancita, en República Dominicana; y Evelyn, en El Salvador) que muestran las consecuencias de la penalización absoluta del aborto sobre las mujeres.



VIDEO: Men Talk about Abortion Access in Northern Ireland #AlliesforChoice

Northern Ireland Alliance for Choice campaigns for free, safe and legal abortion access in Northern Ireland. We asked a group of men why they support our #trustwomen campaign. Here are their views.



A snapshot of western laws and practices surrounding abortion, including best practices, published for 28 September.