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Abortion Care

IPPF works to ensure that every woman and girl has the human right to choose to be pregnant or not and we will continue to supply and support safe and legal abortion services and care. We are committed to reducing the number of deaths of women and girls who are forced to turn to unsafe abortion methods. Make Abortion Safe. Make Abortion Legal. For all Women and Girls. Everywhere.

Articles by Abortion Care

abortion-referral
22 May 2023

How we're linking digital and in-person pathways to abortion care

In recent years, digital technologies have transformed the landscape of healthcare, including the provision of quality abortion care. With the COVID-19 pandemic forcing many clinics and hospitals around the world to close or reduce services, digital health became an essential part of abortion care. Even as clinics resumed pre-pandemic operations, digital abortion care has remained critical for supporting self-managed medical abortion and reaching women in countries with restrictive laws, those living in remote areas, or those seeking discreet and convenient care. However, digital pathways are just one part of a larger ecosystem of abortion care.   To ensure a seamless continuum of person-centered care, the integration of digital abortion care with analog pathways is essential. Analog pathways refer to the traditional client journeys that do not involve digital components.  The Need for Integrated Care Pathways  When digital pathways are disconnected from analog pathways, women and other people seeking abortion care may encounter unnecessary delays or struggle to access the care they need. For instance, a woman consulting a digital provider for information on self-managing a medical abortion may face difficulties obtaining the necessary medication or post-abortion care without access to local health services. To ensure that women can access quality care at every stage of their abortion journey, it is crucial to establish linkages between digital providers and physical access points.  The Success of the WFD-IPPF Partnership  The referral partnership between safe2choose.org (a Women First Digital platform) and the International Planned Parenthood Federation (IPPF) has successfully linked digital and in-person pathways to abortion care. The referral process is straightforward. Women seeking abortion care can access safe2choose's digital platform to receive counselling and information on medical and surgical abortion options. If the woman prefers in-person care or needs further medical attention, the safe2choose team of trained counsellors will refer her to the nearest provider. This referral process ensures that women can choose a hybrid model, receiving continuous care and support from trained healthcare providers throughout their abortion journey.  Since its inception in 2021, the safe2choose partnership with IPPF has registered 300 providers from IPPF Member Associations in seven countries in Africa and Asia. In the first two years, safe2choose referred over 3,600 clients to IPPF facilities, where they received quality abortion care. This collaboration has significantly enhanced the abortion care ecosystem, ensuring comprehensive and uninterrupted care for women. Clients connected to local providers through the digital safe2choose services consistently report positive experiences. They appreciate the easy accessibility and proximity of the local providers, as well as the clear and comprehensive information provided. These testimonials highlight the effectiveness and quality of the referrals, building trust and confidence in local IPPF providers.   Moving Towards a Seamless Continuum of Care  The IPPF and safe2choose referral partnership continues to expand, encompassing providers from more countries and extending the availability of a hybrid model of abortion care to more women worldwide. IPPF Member Association clinics and providers can sign up to the safe2choose referral database through an online registration form. By forging collaborative links between digital and in-person providers, we can move towards a comprehensive abortion care system that fully addresses the needs of women. The success of the safe2choose-IPPF partnership highlights the importance of collaboration between digital and in-clinic providers to create a world where all women have access to quality abortion care.  Discover additional information about the safe2choose referral process here.   

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IPPF Statement on Japan's approval of the abortion pill

The recent approval of Japan's first oral abortion pill is an important step towards achieving gender equality and ensuring that women exercise their right to self-determination over their bodies, including pregnancy and childbirth. IPPF believes that true gender equality requires empowering women to be fully informed and in control of their bodies, thereby expanding their choices and enabling them to determine their own futures. Dr Alvaro Bermejo, Director General of the International Planned Parenthood Federation (IPPF), underlined the importance of this landmark milestone during a visit to Japan in April. Public support through public comments for the approval shows that the social situation in Japan is changing, with increased awareness of women's lives and health, reproductive freedom and women's rights. In its guidelines, the World Health Organisation (WHO) included oral abortion pills in the Essential Medicines Core List, in line with the evidence accumulated in the past, and removed the requirement of direct supervision by health professionals for their use as these pills can be used outside healthcare facilities without compromising safety and efficacy and the abortion process can be managed using the drug without direct supervision of health professionals. IPPF urges Japan to follow these WHO guidelines, including abortion as part of women's health care, and allow women to take safe oral abortion pills at home. Guaranteeing women in its own country access to these essential medicines is also in line with Japan's strong commitment and global pledge to achieve Universal Health Coverage (UHC), ensuring that all women have access to medicines that save their health and lives, and that no one is left behind. IPPF looks forward to, and is committed to working with and supporting, Japan's future steps towards achieving a society that supports true gender equality, where women can exercise their right to self-determination over reproduction.

abortion-misinfo
17 April 2023

How to tell if you are being misled on abortion

Around the world, ‘crisis pregnancy centers’ present themselves as neutral health facilities, while masking their anti-abortion and religious agendas for people seeking information about abortion.  Often funded by extreme anti-abortion groups in the United States and elsewhere, crisis pregnancy centers aim to stop people from choosing to have an abortion. They often register themselves as Christian charities, as opposed to medical providers, meaning they can’t be regulated by government health ministries. By discouraging, denying and actively preventing access to abortion, these centers are placing women and others who can get pregnant in direct harm and putting their lives at risk.  Here are some ways to detect abortion dis- and misinformation, with tips on where to go for accurate, reliable information and compassionate care. Crisis pregnancy centers use paid ads to appear alongside regulated abortion care providers When searching for abortion care online, be aware of any disclaimers associated with search results. Google has now added disclaimers to ads where it will clearly state if the clinic provides abortion care or not. If you’re still unsure if they provide abortion care, here are a few steps you can do before you decide to visit: Contact the clinic in advance, asking specifically if they provide abortion care services and details about the procedure. If they refuse or are unable to confirm that they provide abortion services, and if they cannot answer questions related to the procedure, it is safe to assume they do not provide safe abortion care. Visit their website. If they don’t mention abortion services or provide any details related to the procedure, it’s probably because they don’t provide abortions.  Reading reviews on Google and on their social media related to their abortion care services can also help you make a more informed decision. These small digital due diligence steps could help you avoid crisis pregnancy centers. If you or someone you know needs an abortion, click here for information. You are pressured to have an ultrasound and forced to look at the image and/or listen to the heartbeat Ultrasound scans from a qualified technician are sometimes necessary to assess how many weeks pregnant you are. But ultrasound technicians should never pressure or force you to look at the scan images or listen to the fetal heartbeat (though in some countries or states it may be a legal requirement). You can always ask who will carry out the diagnostic scan and how qualified they are. If your scan is being performed by a sonographer, you can ask what training they've had and if they are on a register. You are told that medical abortions are reversible Medical abortions can consist of two types of medication: mifepristone and misoprostol. Mifepristone works by blocking progesterone - a hormone necessary to maintain a pregnancy - while misoprostol works by causing the uterus to contract and empty. Anti-abortion groups like Heartbeat International, which has ties to the US political right, promote something called the Abortion Pill Rescue Network where people who have taken the first dose of mifepristone (aka the abortion pill) are referred to medical professionals to ‘reverse’ the effects of the pill. An unethical and unproven treatment, it involves giving an individual progesterone after ingesting the first pill in the two-pill medication abortion treatment to stop the abortion. In reality, this method doesn’t work and it could potentially be dangerous. You are told about a made up condition called ‘post-abortion syndrome’  This is a false claim that links abortion to mental illness and has been widely discredited by medical experts. Abortion poses no mental health risks, and no greater risks than carrying an unintended pregnancy to term. You are given leaflets about surrogacy, adoption or homosexuality and encouraged to carry a pregnancy to term Staff at crisis pregnancy centers don’t always wait for pregnant people to come to them - sometimes they go directly into schools and communities to distribute flyers about adoption to early-stage pregnant people before they visit a clinic that offers abortion care. At the clinic, staff may share these leaflets under the guise of providing alternative ‘options’ to pregnant people, or falsely claiming that abortion can lead to homosexuality, when in reality they are used to undermine a person’s bodily autonomy. Nurses, doctors and counsellors use graphic language and images to describe abortion This is a tactic used to scare pregnant people out of having an abortion. You should never be shown graphic images of a fetus or bloody medical equipment as part of a counselling session with an abortion care provider. Before consenting to an abortion, a nurse or counsellor should explain what is involved in the abortion procedure, possible side effects to expect and how these can be managed.  

women holding signs saying bans off our bodies

Texas judge suspends approval of abortion pill in horror move for U.S abortion access

Texas judge, Matthew Kacsmaryk, has suspended the U.S. Food and Drug Administration's (FDA) approval of the abortion pill Mifepristone in a horror move for abortion access across the United States. The decision will result in a nationwide ban on Mifepristone in seven days, with the FDA given one week to appeal the ruling. While the ban also affected access in states that have secured abortion post-Roe v Wade, a conflicting ruling from Judge Thomas O. Rice from a federal court in Washington state ordered the FDA to maintain access to Mifepristone in 17 democratic states and Colombia District – effectively putting access to the pill into limbo. Mifepristone, which has been FDA-approved for more than 22 years and has a safety record of over 99%[i], is taken alongside the drug Misoprostol during medical abortion procedures. Since then, it has been used by over 5 million[ii] Americans and was used in more than half of abortions nationwide last year. While Misoprostol can be used alone in medical abortion, people should have access to the full spectrum of abortion care options. Mifepristone is also used in the medical management of miscarriage and second and third-trimester pregnancies when the fetus has died before birth. While the ruling does not prohibit the FDA from making a new authorization for Mifepristone, this will likely take many months. Severe disruption to abortion care services, healthcare services and supply chain issues are expected as healthcare providers and pharmacies grapple with legality, stock, retraining and reeducation. Beth Schlachter, Director of Global Advocacy for the International Planned Parenthood Federation, said: "For 22 years, Mifepristone has been safely used in medical abortion care across the U.S., allowing healthcare providers to deliver safe, practical and discreet care to people who have chosen to end their pregnancies, regardless of their economic status or ability to travel. "In one fell swoop, anti-abortion extremists have once again stripped people of their rights in another blow to liberty. This horror ruling based on junk science, wilful distortion of fact and extreme political agendas will profoundly affect the lives of millions of people already struggling to access the care they need, especially in states where abortion is already banned." Anti-abortion extremists deliberately filed the case against the approval of Mifepristone in the Amarillo division of the Northern District of Texas — a single-judge division where cases are automatically assigned to Judge Matthew Kacsmaryk, a conservative judge appointed by former President Trump. The group claim that: "the statutory basis on which the FDA's approval of Mifepristone was issued 22 years ago is invalid" - an assertion both the Government Accountability Office and FDA have previously investigated and put to rest "an 1873 vice law that made it illegal to send "obscene, lewd or lascivious" material through the mail applies to abortion pills" - federal courts have consistently ruled it doesn't apply to lawful abortions "the drug's original approval wasn't supported by evidence of safety and efficacy" — a claim that medical and policy experts have continuously discredited Beth Schlachter, added: "The implementation of a national ban on Mifepristone via a state court debunks one of the principal anti-abortion arguments in the Roe v Wade case  - that the ruling curtailed state freedom and that abortion rights should be defined on a state-by-state basis. "This weaponization of federal courts by anti-abortion extremists proves just how dangerous the overturning of Roe v Wade is for everyday Americans, whose access to healthcare now lies in the hands of fanatical religious extremists determined to disrupt, harass and deceive until they end access to abortion care and long-held sexual and reproductive rights for good." The International Planned Parenthood Federation's local partner, the Planned Parenthood Federation of America, will continue to provide abortion care where safe and legal to do so. Those seeking medical abortion can also access care via AidAccess and WomenonWeb. At least two abortion networks, Trust Women and Whole Womans Health, have also announced that they will not immediately stop prescribing Mifepristone and will await a directive from the FDA – a move known as a conscientious provision which refers to providers who continue to provide care despite the legal parameters.   Alongside its partner and other reproductive health organizations, IPPF will keep fighting for access to abortion care, freedom from stigma and freedom from criminalization until everyone, everywhere, is free to make choices about their sexuality and well-being. [i] https://www.plannedparenthood.org/uploads/filer_public/42/8a/428ab2ad-3798-4e3d-8a9f-213203f0af65/191011-the-facts-on-mifepristone-d01.pdf [ii] Ibid For media enquiries, please contact Karmen Ivey at [email protected] or [email protected]   About the International Planned Parenthood Federation The International Planned Parenthood Federation (IPPF) is a global service provider and advocate of sexual and reproductive health and rights for all.  For 70 years, IPPF, through its 118 Member Associations and seven partners, has delivered high-quality sexual and reproductive healthcare and helped advance sexual rights, especially for people with intersectional and diverse needs that are currently unmet. Our Member Associations and partners are independent organizations that are locally owned, which means the support and care they provide is informed by local expertise and context. We advocate for a world where people have the information they need to make informed decisions about their sexual health and bodies. We stand up and fight for sexual and reproductive rights and against those who seek to deny people their human right to bodily autonomy and freedom. We deliver care that is rooted in rights, respect, and dignity - no matter what.  

woman holding green flag from the Latin American feminist movement

Colombia decriminalizes abortion: one year anniversary

Profamilia – an IPPF Member Association and the leading sexual and reproductive rights organization in Colombia – is celebrating the first anniversary of the decriminalization of abortion across the country. The move - Ruling C-055 - which allows abortion up to 24 weeks of gestation under any circumstance is saving lives across Colombia, and means those who have an abortion no longer face prosecution or criminalization. A historic step for the rights of women and pregnant people both in the country and across Latin America. Over the last year, Profamilia via its nationwide network of more than 50 clinics has helped guarantee sexual and reproductive health and rights, focusing on providing safe abortion care services in person as well as the provision of telemedicine for rural women.   For a country which sees 132,000 cases annually of complications from unsafe abortions and 70 women lose their lives each year – the shift in focus to abortion as a public health issue means healthcare providers can now focus on providing life-saving care and ending unsafe abortion. Alongside the ruling, the Ministry of Health, has also regulated abortion services throughout Colombia via Resolution 051, reiterating that abortion is an essential and urgent health service, which women, including migrant women, and pregnant people (transgender men, trans masculinities, non-binary people, among others) must be able to access without restriction and for free. Further rulings also embeds the provision of sexual and reproductive health information into Colombian health services. Marta Royo, the Executive Director of ProFamilia, said: "Profamilia's commitment will always be to provide comprehensive, humanized and safe services that allow free and informed decision making, and we reiterate this today” "After one year it is possible to see the progress the country has made in terms of reproductive autonomy and rights for women and pregnant people. However, we must move from text to action, and ensure that decriminalization means healthcare. Profamilia's commitment will always be to provide comprehensive, humanized and safe services that allow free and informed decision making." Eugenia López Uribe, Regional Director of IPPF for the Americas and The Caribbean.

United States
16 November 2022

Abortion care — we won’t let the opposition define us

It has been just over four months since the U.S Supreme Court made the shocking decision to overturn Roe v. Wade — the 1973 law that guaranteed the constitutional protection of abortion rights across the United States. While it was no secret that women's rights in the “land of the free” have been under constant attack, the outrage, fear, disgust, and disbelief are palpable. What had historically been the most trusted court in the U.S. robbed millions of their fundamental rights, freedom, and bodily autonomy, forcing women, girls, and pregnant people to carry pregnancies to term and denying them essential and life-saving health care. Most abortions are banned in at least 14 U.S. states, with one in three women between the ages of 15 and 44 — a staggering 20.9 million — having lost access. Providers must now contend with rapidly changing, intentionally vague legislation as we learn in real time what it means for the millions who still need urgent abortion care. Women have suffered life-threatening and life-changing health consequences after waiting days for an emergency abortion, including hemorrhaging, sepsis, and hysterectomies. Others face the mental anguish of having their most intimate decisions decided by the state, with "young women today coming of age with fewer rights than their mothers and grandmothers.” Unfair and reckless policies only encourage other extremists, and we are already seeing the chilling effect of reversing Roe play out globally. The day after Roe was overturned, a representative in the Puerto Rican legislature introduced a bill punishing "the crime of abortion" with 99 years in jail. While the bill was withdrawn and abortion remains legal, it signifies the growing interest of fundamentalist policymakers to hinder abortion access globally, spurred on by the loss of rights in the U.S. In Nairobi, Kenya, where activists are making incremental progress liberalizing the restrictive colonial abortion laws which kill an estimated 2500 women and girls each year, colleagues from the International Planned Parenthood Federation Africa region tell us that the anti-choice opposition post-Roe is relentless, with abortion rights wins immediately contested and dragged back into court before there is a chance to implement them. This includes the 2022 ruling by the Kenyan Supreme Court, which affirmed abortion as a constitutional right. Meanwhile, in India, which just recently made history for giving all women in the country equal rights to safe abortion care, we have seen church-sponsored anti-choice movements spring up in response to Roe, now filing a case in the Indian Supreme Court in an attempt to repeal the Medical Termination of Pregnancy Act — the legal basis that gives Indian women the right to an abortion. And this September, Hungary also modified its abortion law, forcing pregnant people to listen to embryonic cardiac activity before allowing them to receive abortion care. A tactic lifted straight from Texas' medically inaccurate "heartbeat bill", and one pushed through without expert or public consultation.   Looking at the bigger picture, we see ultraconservative far-right movements gaining ground, spurred on by anti-women, anti-gender equality, and anti-LGBTQI+ extremists seeking to deny people their freedoms. The calculated yet insidious global shift toward extremist populist sentiment is precisely the environment anti-abortion lawmakers have worked for decades to create — and Roe's reversal has set a dangerous precedent for disregarding abortion access in the pursuit of power and fundamentalist principles. But when we face darkness, we must turn to the light, and while we grapple with providing abortion care in uncertain times, the overturning of Roe serves as an important reminder that while, historically, the global agenda on abortion rights has been set by nations in the global north, what we once held in high regard is not necessarily the right or only choice. At IPPF, we won’t let the anti-choice opposition define us, and are instead choosing to spotlight nations paving the way for human rights, like Colombia, which in response to Green Wave feminist activism in Latin America, decriminalized abortion in a historic move earlier this year. And which post-Roe withdrew as a signatory to the Geneva Consensus Declaration, a global anti-abortion statement introduced by the U.S. Trump-Pence administration.  Or Thailand, which three weeks ago legalized abortions up to 20 weeks, reflecting the progress of medical experts and pro-choice activists in a country that two years ago criminalized abortion. Now more than ever, we must strengthen progressive social movements, using solidarity to reinforce our commitment to safe abortion care for all. We must bring people together in their millions to fight for fundamental human rights, like at the 2022 International Conference of Family Planning in Thailand this week, which will place access to abortion at the heart of the movement for the first time since its inception. By creating networks, collectives, and communities of supporters worldwide, we can ensure access to #SafeAbortionRegardless. Through safe medical abortion pills and supporting and accompanying women to travel for care, we can ensure that people experience unwavering support while making their own reproductive decisions like we have seen on the U.S-Mexico border since the reversal of Roe. Using strength in numbers and medical expertise, we will continue to advocate for unhindered access to comprehensive sexual and reproductive health care. Solidifying relationships and abortion legislation with supportive policymakers and uniting against those who put personal belief ahead of health, choice, and international human rights law. A sentiment reflected in the recent U.S midterm elections after people in Kentucky, Montana, Michigan, Vermont, and California decisively voted to maintain control over their bodies, lives and futures, supported by our relentless partner Planned Parenthood Action Fund. The impact of reversing Roe will take decades to undo. Still, the commitment of pro-choice advocates burns more fiercely than ever — and with people's health, lives, and futures on the line, the fight for sexual and reproductive rights will not stop until everyone, everywhere, can access safe abortion care. 

bans off our bodies sign
02 December 2022

Why denying safe abortion care is a form of femicide

This year’s 16 Days of Activism campaign continues to highlight femicide - the urgent but hidden global crisis of the gender-related killing of women and girls.   While violence against women, and femicide in particular, is most often associated with individual acts of abuse and violence where the perpetrator is an intimate partner, or sometimes a family member, not all forms of femicide are the result of interpersonal violence. Still rooted in gender inequality and misogyny, forms of femicide that are caused by laws and other societal structures are just as harmful and just as pervasive. An example of this is the denial of access to safe abortion care.     Forced pregnancies put lives at risk Every day, lawmakers, politicians, bureaucrats, and others in positions of power make conscious decisions to deny women control over their bodies and place them in danger - constituting a form of State violence against women. 41 percent of women live in countries with restrictive abortion laws – that translates into 700 million women of reproductive age deprived of their bodily autonomy. Unable to access safe and legal abortion care, women and others who can get pregnant are forced to continue pregnancies against their will or seek an abortion outside of the formal health system, sometimes at the risk of losing their lives.  While self-managed abortion using medical abortion pills has improved abortion safety for millions of women living in countries that deny legal access to care, access to these pills and information on their use is not readily available in many settings and the use of unsafe methods is still common. Worldwide, approximately 8 million unsafe abortions are carried out using the most dangerous methods each year (think drinking bleach and inserting foreign objects into the uterus). This results in serious harm to women and girls, contributing to up to 13.2% of maternal deaths globally.     Women who are coerced by the State into continuing an unwanted pregnancy against their will, similarly, have their lives put at risk. Pregnancy and childbirth are significantly more dangerous than abortion. One study in the United States found that women were about 14 times more likely to die during or after giving birth than to die from complications of a safe abortion.  Some countries’ abortion laws are so extreme that they can mean a death sentence for pregnant women who experience obstetric emergencies. One such case in Ireland, prior to 2019 abortion law reform, created public outrage in 2012, after Savita Halappanavar died of blood poisoning following a week spent in hospital being refused an abortion to end a pregnancy that threatened her life. More recently in Poland, at least six women have died as a direct result of the de facto abortion ban, in hospitals, at the hands of the State and health system that are supposed to take care of them.     Refusal of abortion care is State violence Like all forms of femicide, the deaths caused by denial of access to safe abortion are entirely preventable. The blame for this tragic loss of life lies firmly at the feet of the States which impose these harmful laws.   Beyond legal restrictions, by creating unnecessary policy barriers to access and failing to allocate adequate resources to abortion care, States and health bodies are not upholding their duty to provide equitable reproductive health care. Even in countries with progressive legal frameworks a lack of trained and willing health workers, inadequate supplies of quality medical abortion pills and equipment, use of non-evidence-based practices and the refusal to include information on abortion in public health campaigns are common – creating practical barriers which can be insurmountable, particularly for the least privileged, and amount to the denial of access to abortion care.     This refusal of abortion care and the active criminalization of those who seek it, or even those seeking care for a miscarriage or abnormal pregnancy, is a form of State violence against women and others who can get pregnant, and international human rights bodies agree. The Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women affirms that violations of women’s sexual and reproductive health and rights including the denial or delay of safe abortion and post-abortion care may amount to torture or cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment. In a landmark ruling last year, the Inter-American Court of Human Rights established standards throughout the region to help protect women seeking abortion care after the Court deemed El Salvador responsible for the death of a woman, Manuela, following her unjust conviction after suffering a pregnancy loss.   Governments that deny and actively prevent access to abortion care are placing women in direct harm and putting their lives at risk. This all adds up to State sanctioned femicide and violence against women, perpetuated by misogyny and patriarchal systems that seek to control women.     Progress and setbacks on abortion care  As a civil society and feminist movement, IPPF and our partners are working hard to fight the gender inequality and misogyny at the root of all forms of violence against women, including the denial of abortion care. We see progress every day, from the expansion of self-managed medical abortion putting control directly in the hands of women, to the liberalization of abortion laws in countries from Benin to Argentina. But we also see major setbacks, with countries such as the United States and Poland legislating to deny women control over their own bodies and even healthcare for abnormal or risky pregnancies, and reminding us that we need to be louder, braver, and stronger than ever in our fight for the right to abortion.   During these 16 days of activism, we call on all governments to recognise denial of abortion care as a form of gender-based violence that can lead to femicide, to fully decriminalize abortion, and to guarantee universal access to abortion care. Our fight will continue to protect and stand-up for abortion rights, and to provide abortion care for all where States fail to do so. 

United Kingdom Flag

UK Autumn budget doesn't go far enough

If you are covering the UK autumn budget and reporting on foreign aid, you may find the below statement from  the International Planned Parenthood Federation (IPPF) helpful: “The UK government has already decimated the aid budget and its reputation through severe economic mishandling, cutting billions from the very things that protect people during economic, political and social upheaval, including life-saving sexual and reproductive healthcare. “It is also the only country to be spending the majority of its dedicated overseas aid budget within its own borders, taking advantage of legislation to pay for refugee and asylum costs in the UK rather than increasing domestic and overseas budgets accordingly. “The UK government cannot continue to fight the fire of one humanitarian crisis by diverting much-needed resources from other vulnerable people, nor continue to balance its books on the backs of the poorest people in the world - who, as MP Andrew Mitchell stated, will be damaged, maimed, or die as a result. “This government promised to give women and girls the freedom they need to succeed and prevent the worst forms of human suffering worldwide. If it is to deliver on its promises and revive its sunken reputation, it must spend dedicated budgets correctly, support people in the UK and beyond appropriately, and MP Andrew Mitchell and the Chancellor must ensure a return to the 0.7% as soon as possible.”  

ICPD image, an eye, a girl, two people carrying baskets on their heads

Sexual and reproductive justice to deliver the Nairobi commitments

Today, the International Planned Parenthood Federation (IPPF) is helping launch the second report of the High-Level Commission on the Nairobi Summit, also known as the International Conference on Population and Development 25 (ICPD 25). The Commission is an independent advisory board comprised of 26 members from different sectors tasked with monitoring progress on the ICPD Programme of Action and Nairobi Summit Commitments. The programme of action contains commitments from 179 countries to put the rights, needs and aspirations of individual human beings at the centre of sustainable development, part of which includes achieving universal access to sexual and reproductive health for all. The report - ‘Sexual and reproductive justice as the vehicle to deliver the Nairobi Summit commitments’ - highlights sexual and reproductive justice as the key to the realization of the Nairobi Summit commitments. Sexual and reproductive justice is a universal concept. It includes the right to have or not have children, the right to parent one’s children in safe and sustainable environments, and the right to sexual autonomy and gender freedom. Monitoring the implementation of life-saving sexual and reproductive health and gender-responsive services is crucial to ensure accountability and human rights for all. However, while some progress has been made, many barriers persist, and millions worldwide still do not realize their sexual and reproductive rights. Progress on Nairobi Summit Commitments: Numerous country commitments made at the Nairobi Summit align with a sexual and reproductive justice framework. They pay explicit attention to marginalized and vulnerable populations, notably people with disabilities, refugees, migrants (particularly migrant women), young people and older persons. Indigenous peoples, people of African descent and other ethnic minority groups have received less attention. A slew of new reproductive rights legislation followed the Nairobi Summit, suggesting a basis for a sexual and reproductive justice framework. The high number of commitments prioritizing sexual and gender-based violence offers a powerful entry point for promoting sexual and reproductive justice. On the Summit’s Global Commitments, some improvement is evident in meeting unmet need for family planning. But no region has registered positive movement towards zero preventable maternal deaths. Greater access to family planning has yet to translate into better maternal health outcomes. There is some progress in offering comprehensive and age-responsive information and education on sexuality and reproduction and adolescent-friendly, comprehensive, quality and timely services. Certain regions and countries have advanced in providing timely, quality and disaggregated data. More must be done, but this creates opportunities for ensuring that data capture intersecting challenges and are used to inform laws, policies and programmes. Domestic and international finance is critical to sexual and reproductive justice but persistently lags commitments. More than 4 billion people globally will lack access to at least one key sexual and reproductive health service during their lives Dr Alvaro Bermejo, Director-General for the International Planned Parenthood Federation, said:

ICPD image, an eye, a girl, two people carrying baskets on their heads

Sexual and reproductive justice to deliver the Nairobi commitments

Today, the International Planned Parenthood Federation (IPPF) is helping launch the second report of the High-Level Commission on the Nairobi Summit, also known as the International Conference on Population and Development 25 (ICPD 25). The Commission is an independent advisory board comprised of 26 members from different sectors tasked with monitoring progress on the ICPD Programme of Action and Nairobi Summit Commitments. The programme of action contains commitments from 179 countries to put the rights, needs and aspirations of individual human beings at the centre of sustainable development, part of which includes achieving universal access to sexual and reproductive health for all. The report - ‘Sexual and reproductive justice as the vehicle to deliver the Nairobi Summit commitments’ - highlights sexual and reproductive justice as the key to the realization of the Nairobi Summit commitments. Sexual and reproductive justice is a universal concept. It includes the right to have or not have children, the right to parent one’s children in safe and sustainable environments, and the right to sexual autonomy and gender freedom. Monitoring the implementation of life-saving sexual and reproductive health and gender-responsive services is crucial to ensure accountability and human rights for all. However, while some progress has been made, many barriers persist, and millions worldwide still do not realize their sexual and reproductive rights. Progress on Nairobi Summit Commitments: Numerous country commitments made at the Nairobi Summit align with a sexual and reproductive justice framework. They pay explicit attention to marginalized and vulnerable populations, notably people with disabilities, refugees, migrants (particularly migrant women), young people and older persons. Indigenous peoples, people of African descent and other ethnic minority groups have received less attention. A slew of new reproductive rights legislation followed the Nairobi Summit, suggesting a basis for a sexual and reproductive justice framework. The high number of commitments prioritizing sexual and gender-based violence offers a powerful entry point for promoting sexual and reproductive justice. On the Summit’s Global Commitments, some improvement is evident in meeting unmet need for family planning. But no region has registered positive movement towards zero preventable maternal deaths. Greater access to family planning has yet to translate into better maternal health outcomes. There is some progress in offering comprehensive and age-responsive information and education on sexuality and reproduction and adolescent-friendly, comprehensive, quality and timely services. Certain regions and countries have advanced in providing timely, quality and disaggregated data. More must be done, but this creates opportunities for ensuring that data capture intersecting challenges and are used to inform laws, policies and programmes. Domestic and international finance is critical to sexual and reproductive justice but persistently lags commitments. More than 4 billion people globally will lack access to at least one key sexual and reproductive health service during their lives Dr Alvaro Bermejo, Director-General for the International Planned Parenthood Federation, said: “Three years on from the Nairobi Summit and while we have seen some progress in sexual and reproductive health and rights across countries like Colombia, Mexico and Thailand, globally, we remain far from reaching the commitments made at ICPD 25 - that all women and girls will have autonomy over their bodies and lives through universal access to sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR). “With the devasting loss of abortion rights across the U.S having a disproportionate impact on poor women and women of colour, ongoing humanitarian crises across countries like Afghanistan, Ethiopia and Ukraine creating unliveable, unsafe and unsustainable conditions for millions, and the loss of billions of dollars of funding severely affecting access to sexual and reproductive health care for those most in need, 2022 continues to demonstrate the critical need to champion sexual and reproductive justice for all - recognizing the importance of intersecting oppressions on people’s ability to make decisions about their bodies, lives and futures. “At the International Planned Parenthood Federation (IPPF), we remain dedicated to helping countries deliver on the Nairobi commitments as we approach ICPD 30. Using our unique position as a locally-owned, globally connected organization, we will continue to work in solidarity with donors, governments, partners and communities to ensure that everyone, everywhere, can access high-quality SRH care, especially those who are most often excluded, locked out and left behind. “IPPF also urges governments to heed the Commission’s call to action and do more to achieve sexual and reproductive justice. This means tackling the economic, social and legal barriers that prevent its implementation, more financial investment, including in universal healthcare, increased solidarity with partners and the sense of urgency needed to get the job done. The lives and futures of millions depend on it.” For media enquiries, please contact Karmen Ivey on [email protected] or [email protected]   About the International Planned Parenthood Federation The International Planned Parenthood Federation (IPPF) is a global service provider and advocate of sexual and reproductive health and rights for all.   For 70 years, IPPF, through its 108 Member Associations and seven partners, has delivered high-quality sexual and reproductive healthcare and helped advance sexual rights, especially for people with intersectional and diverse needs that are currently unmet. Our Member Associations and partners are independent organizations that are locally owned, which means the support and care they provide is informed by local expertise and context. We advocate for a world where people are provided with the information they need to make informed decisions about their sexual health and bodies. We stand up and fight for sexual and reproductive rights and against those who seek to deny people their human right to bodily autonomy and freedom. We deliver care that is rooted in rights, respect, and dignity - no matter what.

abortion-referral
22 May 2023

How we're linking digital and in-person pathways to abortion care

In recent years, digital technologies have transformed the landscape of healthcare, including the provision of quality abortion care. With the COVID-19 pandemic forcing many clinics and hospitals around the world to close or reduce services, digital health became an essential part of abortion care. Even as clinics resumed pre-pandemic operations, digital abortion care has remained critical for supporting self-managed medical abortion and reaching women in countries with restrictive laws, those living in remote areas, or those seeking discreet and convenient care. However, digital pathways are just one part of a larger ecosystem of abortion care.   To ensure a seamless continuum of person-centered care, the integration of digital abortion care with analog pathways is essential. Analog pathways refer to the traditional client journeys that do not involve digital components.  The Need for Integrated Care Pathways  When digital pathways are disconnected from analog pathways, women and other people seeking abortion care may encounter unnecessary delays or struggle to access the care they need. For instance, a woman consulting a digital provider for information on self-managing a medical abortion may face difficulties obtaining the necessary medication or post-abortion care without access to local health services. To ensure that women can access quality care at every stage of their abortion journey, it is crucial to establish linkages between digital providers and physical access points.  The Success of the WFD-IPPF Partnership  The referral partnership between safe2choose.org (a Women First Digital platform) and the International Planned Parenthood Federation (IPPF) has successfully linked digital and in-person pathways to abortion care. The referral process is straightforward. Women seeking abortion care can access safe2choose's digital platform to receive counselling and information on medical and surgical abortion options. If the woman prefers in-person care or needs further medical attention, the safe2choose team of trained counsellors will refer her to the nearest provider. This referral process ensures that women can choose a hybrid model, receiving continuous care and support from trained healthcare providers throughout their abortion journey.  Since its inception in 2021, the safe2choose partnership with IPPF has registered 300 providers from IPPF Member Associations in seven countries in Africa and Asia. In the first two years, safe2choose referred over 3,600 clients to IPPF facilities, where they received quality abortion care. This collaboration has significantly enhanced the abortion care ecosystem, ensuring comprehensive and uninterrupted care for women. Clients connected to local providers through the digital safe2choose services consistently report positive experiences. They appreciate the easy accessibility and proximity of the local providers, as well as the clear and comprehensive information provided. These testimonials highlight the effectiveness and quality of the referrals, building trust and confidence in local IPPF providers.   Moving Towards a Seamless Continuum of Care  The IPPF and safe2choose referral partnership continues to expand, encompassing providers from more countries and extending the availability of a hybrid model of abortion care to more women worldwide. IPPF Member Association clinics and providers can sign up to the safe2choose referral database through an online registration form. By forging collaborative links between digital and in-person providers, we can move towards a comprehensive abortion care system that fully addresses the needs of women. The success of the safe2choose-IPPF partnership highlights the importance of collaboration between digital and in-clinic providers to create a world where all women have access to quality abortion care.  Discover additional information about the safe2choose referral process here.   

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IPPF Statement on Japan's approval of the abortion pill

The recent approval of Japan's first oral abortion pill is an important step towards achieving gender equality and ensuring that women exercise their right to self-determination over their bodies, including pregnancy and childbirth. IPPF believes that true gender equality requires empowering women to be fully informed and in control of their bodies, thereby expanding their choices and enabling them to determine their own futures. Dr Alvaro Bermejo, Director General of the International Planned Parenthood Federation (IPPF), underlined the importance of this landmark milestone during a visit to Japan in April. Public support through public comments for the approval shows that the social situation in Japan is changing, with increased awareness of women's lives and health, reproductive freedom and women's rights. In its guidelines, the World Health Organisation (WHO) included oral abortion pills in the Essential Medicines Core List, in line with the evidence accumulated in the past, and removed the requirement of direct supervision by health professionals for their use as these pills can be used outside healthcare facilities without compromising safety and efficacy and the abortion process can be managed using the drug without direct supervision of health professionals. IPPF urges Japan to follow these WHO guidelines, including abortion as part of women's health care, and allow women to take safe oral abortion pills at home. Guaranteeing women in its own country access to these essential medicines is also in line with Japan's strong commitment and global pledge to achieve Universal Health Coverage (UHC), ensuring that all women have access to medicines that save their health and lives, and that no one is left behind. IPPF looks forward to, and is committed to working with and supporting, Japan's future steps towards achieving a society that supports true gender equality, where women can exercise their right to self-determination over reproduction.

abortion-misinfo
17 April 2023

How to tell if you are being misled on abortion

Around the world, ‘crisis pregnancy centers’ present themselves as neutral health facilities, while masking their anti-abortion and religious agendas for people seeking information about abortion.  Often funded by extreme anti-abortion groups in the United States and elsewhere, crisis pregnancy centers aim to stop people from choosing to have an abortion. They often register themselves as Christian charities, as opposed to medical providers, meaning they can’t be regulated by government health ministries. By discouraging, denying and actively preventing access to abortion, these centers are placing women and others who can get pregnant in direct harm and putting their lives at risk.  Here are some ways to detect abortion dis- and misinformation, with tips on where to go for accurate, reliable information and compassionate care. Crisis pregnancy centers use paid ads to appear alongside regulated abortion care providers When searching for abortion care online, be aware of any disclaimers associated with search results. Google has now added disclaimers to ads where it will clearly state if the clinic provides abortion care or not. If you’re still unsure if they provide abortion care, here are a few steps you can do before you decide to visit: Contact the clinic in advance, asking specifically if they provide abortion care services and details about the procedure. If they refuse or are unable to confirm that they provide abortion services, and if they cannot answer questions related to the procedure, it is safe to assume they do not provide safe abortion care. Visit their website. If they don’t mention abortion services or provide any details related to the procedure, it’s probably because they don’t provide abortions.  Reading reviews on Google and on their social media related to their abortion care services can also help you make a more informed decision. These small digital due diligence steps could help you avoid crisis pregnancy centers. If you or someone you know needs an abortion, click here for information. You are pressured to have an ultrasound and forced to look at the image and/or listen to the heartbeat Ultrasound scans from a qualified technician are sometimes necessary to assess how many weeks pregnant you are. But ultrasound technicians should never pressure or force you to look at the scan images or listen to the fetal heartbeat (though in some countries or states it may be a legal requirement). You can always ask who will carry out the diagnostic scan and how qualified they are. If your scan is being performed by a sonographer, you can ask what training they've had and if they are on a register. You are told that medical abortions are reversible Medical abortions can consist of two types of medication: mifepristone and misoprostol. Mifepristone works by blocking progesterone - a hormone necessary to maintain a pregnancy - while misoprostol works by causing the uterus to contract and empty. Anti-abortion groups like Heartbeat International, which has ties to the US political right, promote something called the Abortion Pill Rescue Network where people who have taken the first dose of mifepristone (aka the abortion pill) are referred to medical professionals to ‘reverse’ the effects of the pill. An unethical and unproven treatment, it involves giving an individual progesterone after ingesting the first pill in the two-pill medication abortion treatment to stop the abortion. In reality, this method doesn’t work and it could potentially be dangerous. You are told about a made up condition called ‘post-abortion syndrome’  This is a false claim that links abortion to mental illness and has been widely discredited by medical experts. Abortion poses no mental health risks, and no greater risks than carrying an unintended pregnancy to term. You are given leaflets about surrogacy, adoption or homosexuality and encouraged to carry a pregnancy to term Staff at crisis pregnancy centers don’t always wait for pregnant people to come to them - sometimes they go directly into schools and communities to distribute flyers about adoption to early-stage pregnant people before they visit a clinic that offers abortion care. At the clinic, staff may share these leaflets under the guise of providing alternative ‘options’ to pregnant people, or falsely claiming that abortion can lead to homosexuality, when in reality they are used to undermine a person’s bodily autonomy. Nurses, doctors and counsellors use graphic language and images to describe abortion This is a tactic used to scare pregnant people out of having an abortion. You should never be shown graphic images of a fetus or bloody medical equipment as part of a counselling session with an abortion care provider. Before consenting to an abortion, a nurse or counsellor should explain what is involved in the abortion procedure, possible side effects to expect and how these can be managed.  

women holding signs saying bans off our bodies

Texas judge suspends approval of abortion pill in horror move for U.S abortion access

Texas judge, Matthew Kacsmaryk, has suspended the U.S. Food and Drug Administration's (FDA) approval of the abortion pill Mifepristone in a horror move for abortion access across the United States. The decision will result in a nationwide ban on Mifepristone in seven days, with the FDA given one week to appeal the ruling. While the ban also affected access in states that have secured abortion post-Roe v Wade, a conflicting ruling from Judge Thomas O. Rice from a federal court in Washington state ordered the FDA to maintain access to Mifepristone in 17 democratic states and Colombia District – effectively putting access to the pill into limbo. Mifepristone, which has been FDA-approved for more than 22 years and has a safety record of over 99%[i], is taken alongside the drug Misoprostol during medical abortion procedures. Since then, it has been used by over 5 million[ii] Americans and was used in more than half of abortions nationwide last year. While Misoprostol can be used alone in medical abortion, people should have access to the full spectrum of abortion care options. Mifepristone is also used in the medical management of miscarriage and second and third-trimester pregnancies when the fetus has died before birth. While the ruling does not prohibit the FDA from making a new authorization for Mifepristone, this will likely take many months. Severe disruption to abortion care services, healthcare services and supply chain issues are expected as healthcare providers and pharmacies grapple with legality, stock, retraining and reeducation. Beth Schlachter, Director of Global Advocacy for the International Planned Parenthood Federation, said: "For 22 years, Mifepristone has been safely used in medical abortion care across the U.S., allowing healthcare providers to deliver safe, practical and discreet care to people who have chosen to end their pregnancies, regardless of their economic status or ability to travel. "In one fell swoop, anti-abortion extremists have once again stripped people of their rights in another blow to liberty. This horror ruling based on junk science, wilful distortion of fact and extreme political agendas will profoundly affect the lives of millions of people already struggling to access the care they need, especially in states where abortion is already banned." Anti-abortion extremists deliberately filed the case against the approval of Mifepristone in the Amarillo division of the Northern District of Texas — a single-judge division where cases are automatically assigned to Judge Matthew Kacsmaryk, a conservative judge appointed by former President Trump. The group claim that: "the statutory basis on which the FDA's approval of Mifepristone was issued 22 years ago is invalid" - an assertion both the Government Accountability Office and FDA have previously investigated and put to rest "an 1873 vice law that made it illegal to send "obscene, lewd or lascivious" material through the mail applies to abortion pills" - federal courts have consistently ruled it doesn't apply to lawful abortions "the drug's original approval wasn't supported by evidence of safety and efficacy" — a claim that medical and policy experts have continuously discredited Beth Schlachter, added: "The implementation of a national ban on Mifepristone via a state court debunks one of the principal anti-abortion arguments in the Roe v Wade case  - that the ruling curtailed state freedom and that abortion rights should be defined on a state-by-state basis. "This weaponization of federal courts by anti-abortion extremists proves just how dangerous the overturning of Roe v Wade is for everyday Americans, whose access to healthcare now lies in the hands of fanatical religious extremists determined to disrupt, harass and deceive until they end access to abortion care and long-held sexual and reproductive rights for good." The International Planned Parenthood Federation's local partner, the Planned Parenthood Federation of America, will continue to provide abortion care where safe and legal to do so. Those seeking medical abortion can also access care via AidAccess and WomenonWeb. At least two abortion networks, Trust Women and Whole Womans Health, have also announced that they will not immediately stop prescribing Mifepristone and will await a directive from the FDA – a move known as a conscientious provision which refers to providers who continue to provide care despite the legal parameters.   Alongside its partner and other reproductive health organizations, IPPF will keep fighting for access to abortion care, freedom from stigma and freedom from criminalization until everyone, everywhere, is free to make choices about their sexuality and well-being. [i] https://www.plannedparenthood.org/uploads/filer_public/42/8a/428ab2ad-3798-4e3d-8a9f-213203f0af65/191011-the-facts-on-mifepristone-d01.pdf [ii] Ibid For media enquiries, please contact Karmen Ivey at [email protected] or [email protected]   About the International Planned Parenthood Federation The International Planned Parenthood Federation (IPPF) is a global service provider and advocate of sexual and reproductive health and rights for all.  For 70 years, IPPF, through its 118 Member Associations and seven partners, has delivered high-quality sexual and reproductive healthcare and helped advance sexual rights, especially for people with intersectional and diverse needs that are currently unmet. Our Member Associations and partners are independent organizations that are locally owned, which means the support and care they provide is informed by local expertise and context. We advocate for a world where people have the information they need to make informed decisions about their sexual health and bodies. We stand up and fight for sexual and reproductive rights and against those who seek to deny people their human right to bodily autonomy and freedom. We deliver care that is rooted in rights, respect, and dignity - no matter what.  

woman holding green flag from the Latin American feminist movement

Colombia decriminalizes abortion: one year anniversary

Profamilia – an IPPF Member Association and the leading sexual and reproductive rights organization in Colombia – is celebrating the first anniversary of the decriminalization of abortion across the country. The move - Ruling C-055 - which allows abortion up to 24 weeks of gestation under any circumstance is saving lives across Colombia, and means those who have an abortion no longer face prosecution or criminalization. A historic step for the rights of women and pregnant people both in the country and across Latin America. Over the last year, Profamilia via its nationwide network of more than 50 clinics has helped guarantee sexual and reproductive health and rights, focusing on providing safe abortion care services in person as well as the provision of telemedicine for rural women.   For a country which sees 132,000 cases annually of complications from unsafe abortions and 70 women lose their lives each year – the shift in focus to abortion as a public health issue means healthcare providers can now focus on providing life-saving care and ending unsafe abortion. Alongside the ruling, the Ministry of Health, has also regulated abortion services throughout Colombia via Resolution 051, reiterating that abortion is an essential and urgent health service, which women, including migrant women, and pregnant people (transgender men, trans masculinities, non-binary people, among others) must be able to access without restriction and for free. Further rulings also embeds the provision of sexual and reproductive health information into Colombian health services. Marta Royo, the Executive Director of ProFamilia, said: "Profamilia's commitment will always be to provide comprehensive, humanized and safe services that allow free and informed decision making, and we reiterate this today” "After one year it is possible to see the progress the country has made in terms of reproductive autonomy and rights for women and pregnant people. However, we must move from text to action, and ensure that decriminalization means healthcare. Profamilia's commitment will always be to provide comprehensive, humanized and safe services that allow free and informed decision making." Eugenia López Uribe, Regional Director of IPPF for the Americas and The Caribbean.

United States
16 November 2022

Abortion care — we won’t let the opposition define us

It has been just over four months since the U.S Supreme Court made the shocking decision to overturn Roe v. Wade — the 1973 law that guaranteed the constitutional protection of abortion rights across the United States. While it was no secret that women's rights in the “land of the free” have been under constant attack, the outrage, fear, disgust, and disbelief are palpable. What had historically been the most trusted court in the U.S. robbed millions of their fundamental rights, freedom, and bodily autonomy, forcing women, girls, and pregnant people to carry pregnancies to term and denying them essential and life-saving health care. Most abortions are banned in at least 14 U.S. states, with one in three women between the ages of 15 and 44 — a staggering 20.9 million — having lost access. Providers must now contend with rapidly changing, intentionally vague legislation as we learn in real time what it means for the millions who still need urgent abortion care. Women have suffered life-threatening and life-changing health consequences after waiting days for an emergency abortion, including hemorrhaging, sepsis, and hysterectomies. Others face the mental anguish of having their most intimate decisions decided by the state, with "young women today coming of age with fewer rights than their mothers and grandmothers.” Unfair and reckless policies only encourage other extremists, and we are already seeing the chilling effect of reversing Roe play out globally. The day after Roe was overturned, a representative in the Puerto Rican legislature introduced a bill punishing "the crime of abortion" with 99 years in jail. While the bill was withdrawn and abortion remains legal, it signifies the growing interest of fundamentalist policymakers to hinder abortion access globally, spurred on by the loss of rights in the U.S. In Nairobi, Kenya, where activists are making incremental progress liberalizing the restrictive colonial abortion laws which kill an estimated 2500 women and girls each year, colleagues from the International Planned Parenthood Federation Africa region tell us that the anti-choice opposition post-Roe is relentless, with abortion rights wins immediately contested and dragged back into court before there is a chance to implement them. This includes the 2022 ruling by the Kenyan Supreme Court, which affirmed abortion as a constitutional right. Meanwhile, in India, which just recently made history for giving all women in the country equal rights to safe abortion care, we have seen church-sponsored anti-choice movements spring up in response to Roe, now filing a case in the Indian Supreme Court in an attempt to repeal the Medical Termination of Pregnancy Act — the legal basis that gives Indian women the right to an abortion. And this September, Hungary also modified its abortion law, forcing pregnant people to listen to embryonic cardiac activity before allowing them to receive abortion care. A tactic lifted straight from Texas' medically inaccurate "heartbeat bill", and one pushed through without expert or public consultation.   Looking at the bigger picture, we see ultraconservative far-right movements gaining ground, spurred on by anti-women, anti-gender equality, and anti-LGBTQI+ extremists seeking to deny people their freedoms. The calculated yet insidious global shift toward extremist populist sentiment is precisely the environment anti-abortion lawmakers have worked for decades to create — and Roe's reversal has set a dangerous precedent for disregarding abortion access in the pursuit of power and fundamentalist principles. But when we face darkness, we must turn to the light, and while we grapple with providing abortion care in uncertain times, the overturning of Roe serves as an important reminder that while, historically, the global agenda on abortion rights has been set by nations in the global north, what we once held in high regard is not necessarily the right or only choice. At IPPF, we won’t let the anti-choice opposition define us, and are instead choosing to spotlight nations paving the way for human rights, like Colombia, which in response to Green Wave feminist activism in Latin America, decriminalized abortion in a historic move earlier this year. And which post-Roe withdrew as a signatory to the Geneva Consensus Declaration, a global anti-abortion statement introduced by the U.S. Trump-Pence administration.  Or Thailand, which three weeks ago legalized abortions up to 20 weeks, reflecting the progress of medical experts and pro-choice activists in a country that two years ago criminalized abortion. Now more than ever, we must strengthen progressive social movements, using solidarity to reinforce our commitment to safe abortion care for all. We must bring people together in their millions to fight for fundamental human rights, like at the 2022 International Conference of Family Planning in Thailand this week, which will place access to abortion at the heart of the movement for the first time since its inception. By creating networks, collectives, and communities of supporters worldwide, we can ensure access to #SafeAbortionRegardless. Through safe medical abortion pills and supporting and accompanying women to travel for care, we can ensure that people experience unwavering support while making their own reproductive decisions like we have seen on the U.S-Mexico border since the reversal of Roe. Using strength in numbers and medical expertise, we will continue to advocate for unhindered access to comprehensive sexual and reproductive health care. Solidifying relationships and abortion legislation with supportive policymakers and uniting against those who put personal belief ahead of health, choice, and international human rights law. A sentiment reflected in the recent U.S midterm elections after people in Kentucky, Montana, Michigan, Vermont, and California decisively voted to maintain control over their bodies, lives and futures, supported by our relentless partner Planned Parenthood Action Fund. The impact of reversing Roe will take decades to undo. Still, the commitment of pro-choice advocates burns more fiercely than ever — and with people's health, lives, and futures on the line, the fight for sexual and reproductive rights will not stop until everyone, everywhere, can access safe abortion care. 

bans off our bodies sign
02 December 2022

Why denying safe abortion care is a form of femicide

This year’s 16 Days of Activism campaign continues to highlight femicide - the urgent but hidden global crisis of the gender-related killing of women and girls.   While violence against women, and femicide in particular, is most often associated with individual acts of abuse and violence where the perpetrator is an intimate partner, or sometimes a family member, not all forms of femicide are the result of interpersonal violence. Still rooted in gender inequality and misogyny, forms of femicide that are caused by laws and other societal structures are just as harmful and just as pervasive. An example of this is the denial of access to safe abortion care.     Forced pregnancies put lives at risk Every day, lawmakers, politicians, bureaucrats, and others in positions of power make conscious decisions to deny women control over their bodies and place them in danger - constituting a form of State violence against women. 41 percent of women live in countries with restrictive abortion laws – that translates into 700 million women of reproductive age deprived of their bodily autonomy. Unable to access safe and legal abortion care, women and others who can get pregnant are forced to continue pregnancies against their will or seek an abortion outside of the formal health system, sometimes at the risk of losing their lives.  While self-managed abortion using medical abortion pills has improved abortion safety for millions of women living in countries that deny legal access to care, access to these pills and information on their use is not readily available in many settings and the use of unsafe methods is still common. Worldwide, approximately 8 million unsafe abortions are carried out using the most dangerous methods each year (think drinking bleach and inserting foreign objects into the uterus). This results in serious harm to women and girls, contributing to up to 13.2% of maternal deaths globally.     Women who are coerced by the State into continuing an unwanted pregnancy against their will, similarly, have their lives put at risk. Pregnancy and childbirth are significantly more dangerous than abortion. One study in the United States found that women were about 14 times more likely to die during or after giving birth than to die from complications of a safe abortion.  Some countries’ abortion laws are so extreme that they can mean a death sentence for pregnant women who experience obstetric emergencies. One such case in Ireland, prior to 2019 abortion law reform, created public outrage in 2012, after Savita Halappanavar died of blood poisoning following a week spent in hospital being refused an abortion to end a pregnancy that threatened her life. More recently in Poland, at least six women have died as a direct result of the de facto abortion ban, in hospitals, at the hands of the State and health system that are supposed to take care of them.     Refusal of abortion care is State violence Like all forms of femicide, the deaths caused by denial of access to safe abortion are entirely preventable. The blame for this tragic loss of life lies firmly at the feet of the States which impose these harmful laws.   Beyond legal restrictions, by creating unnecessary policy barriers to access and failing to allocate adequate resources to abortion care, States and health bodies are not upholding their duty to provide equitable reproductive health care. Even in countries with progressive legal frameworks a lack of trained and willing health workers, inadequate supplies of quality medical abortion pills and equipment, use of non-evidence-based practices and the refusal to include information on abortion in public health campaigns are common – creating practical barriers which can be insurmountable, particularly for the least privileged, and amount to the denial of access to abortion care.     This refusal of abortion care and the active criminalization of those who seek it, or even those seeking care for a miscarriage or abnormal pregnancy, is a form of State violence against women and others who can get pregnant, and international human rights bodies agree. The Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women affirms that violations of women’s sexual and reproductive health and rights including the denial or delay of safe abortion and post-abortion care may amount to torture or cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment. In a landmark ruling last year, the Inter-American Court of Human Rights established standards throughout the region to help protect women seeking abortion care after the Court deemed El Salvador responsible for the death of a woman, Manuela, following her unjust conviction after suffering a pregnancy loss.   Governments that deny and actively prevent access to abortion care are placing women in direct harm and putting their lives at risk. This all adds up to State sanctioned femicide and violence against women, perpetuated by misogyny and patriarchal systems that seek to control women.     Progress and setbacks on abortion care  As a civil society and feminist movement, IPPF and our partners are working hard to fight the gender inequality and misogyny at the root of all forms of violence against women, including the denial of abortion care. We see progress every day, from the expansion of self-managed medical abortion putting control directly in the hands of women, to the liberalization of abortion laws in countries from Benin to Argentina. But we also see major setbacks, with countries such as the United States and Poland legislating to deny women control over their own bodies and even healthcare for abnormal or risky pregnancies, and reminding us that we need to be louder, braver, and stronger than ever in our fight for the right to abortion.   During these 16 days of activism, we call on all governments to recognise denial of abortion care as a form of gender-based violence that can lead to femicide, to fully decriminalize abortion, and to guarantee universal access to abortion care. Our fight will continue to protect and stand-up for abortion rights, and to provide abortion care for all where States fail to do so. 

United Kingdom Flag

UK Autumn budget doesn't go far enough

If you are covering the UK autumn budget and reporting on foreign aid, you may find the below statement from  the International Planned Parenthood Federation (IPPF) helpful: “The UK government has already decimated the aid budget and its reputation through severe economic mishandling, cutting billions from the very things that protect people during economic, political and social upheaval, including life-saving sexual and reproductive healthcare. “It is also the only country to be spending the majority of its dedicated overseas aid budget within its own borders, taking advantage of legislation to pay for refugee and asylum costs in the UK rather than increasing domestic and overseas budgets accordingly. “The UK government cannot continue to fight the fire of one humanitarian crisis by diverting much-needed resources from other vulnerable people, nor continue to balance its books on the backs of the poorest people in the world - who, as MP Andrew Mitchell stated, will be damaged, maimed, or die as a result. “This government promised to give women and girls the freedom they need to succeed and prevent the worst forms of human suffering worldwide. If it is to deliver on its promises and revive its sunken reputation, it must spend dedicated budgets correctly, support people in the UK and beyond appropriately, and MP Andrew Mitchell and the Chancellor must ensure a return to the 0.7% as soon as possible.”  

ICPD image, an eye, a girl, two people carrying baskets on their heads

Sexual and reproductive justice to deliver the Nairobi commitments

Today, the International Planned Parenthood Federation (IPPF) is helping launch the second report of the High-Level Commission on the Nairobi Summit, also known as the International Conference on Population and Development 25 (ICPD 25). The Commission is an independent advisory board comprised of 26 members from different sectors tasked with monitoring progress on the ICPD Programme of Action and Nairobi Summit Commitments. The programme of action contains commitments from 179 countries to put the rights, needs and aspirations of individual human beings at the centre of sustainable development, part of which includes achieving universal access to sexual and reproductive health for all. The report - ‘Sexual and reproductive justice as the vehicle to deliver the Nairobi Summit commitments’ - highlights sexual and reproductive justice as the key to the realization of the Nairobi Summit commitments. Sexual and reproductive justice is a universal concept. It includes the right to have or not have children, the right to parent one’s children in safe and sustainable environments, and the right to sexual autonomy and gender freedom. Monitoring the implementation of life-saving sexual and reproductive health and gender-responsive services is crucial to ensure accountability and human rights for all. However, while some progress has been made, many barriers persist, and millions worldwide still do not realize their sexual and reproductive rights. Progress on Nairobi Summit Commitments: Numerous country commitments made at the Nairobi Summit align with a sexual and reproductive justice framework. They pay explicit attention to marginalized and vulnerable populations, notably people with disabilities, refugees, migrants (particularly migrant women), young people and older persons. Indigenous peoples, people of African descent and other ethnic minority groups have received less attention. A slew of new reproductive rights legislation followed the Nairobi Summit, suggesting a basis for a sexual and reproductive justice framework. The high number of commitments prioritizing sexual and gender-based violence offers a powerful entry point for promoting sexual and reproductive justice. On the Summit’s Global Commitments, some improvement is evident in meeting unmet need for family planning. But no region has registered positive movement towards zero preventable maternal deaths. Greater access to family planning has yet to translate into better maternal health outcomes. There is some progress in offering comprehensive and age-responsive information and education on sexuality and reproduction and adolescent-friendly, comprehensive, quality and timely services. Certain regions and countries have advanced in providing timely, quality and disaggregated data. More must be done, but this creates opportunities for ensuring that data capture intersecting challenges and are used to inform laws, policies and programmes. Domestic and international finance is critical to sexual and reproductive justice but persistently lags commitments. More than 4 billion people globally will lack access to at least one key sexual and reproductive health service during their lives Dr Alvaro Bermejo, Director-General for the International Planned Parenthood Federation, said:

ICPD image, an eye, a girl, two people carrying baskets on their heads

Sexual and reproductive justice to deliver the Nairobi commitments

Today, the International Planned Parenthood Federation (IPPF) is helping launch the second report of the High-Level Commission on the Nairobi Summit, also known as the International Conference on Population and Development 25 (ICPD 25). The Commission is an independent advisory board comprised of 26 members from different sectors tasked with monitoring progress on the ICPD Programme of Action and Nairobi Summit Commitments. The programme of action contains commitments from 179 countries to put the rights, needs and aspirations of individual human beings at the centre of sustainable development, part of which includes achieving universal access to sexual and reproductive health for all. The report - ‘Sexual and reproductive justice as the vehicle to deliver the Nairobi Summit commitments’ - highlights sexual and reproductive justice as the key to the realization of the Nairobi Summit commitments. Sexual and reproductive justice is a universal concept. It includes the right to have or not have children, the right to parent one’s children in safe and sustainable environments, and the right to sexual autonomy and gender freedom. Monitoring the implementation of life-saving sexual and reproductive health and gender-responsive services is crucial to ensure accountability and human rights for all. However, while some progress has been made, many barriers persist, and millions worldwide still do not realize their sexual and reproductive rights. Progress on Nairobi Summit Commitments: Numerous country commitments made at the Nairobi Summit align with a sexual and reproductive justice framework. They pay explicit attention to marginalized and vulnerable populations, notably people with disabilities, refugees, migrants (particularly migrant women), young people and older persons. Indigenous peoples, people of African descent and other ethnic minority groups have received less attention. A slew of new reproductive rights legislation followed the Nairobi Summit, suggesting a basis for a sexual and reproductive justice framework. The high number of commitments prioritizing sexual and gender-based violence offers a powerful entry point for promoting sexual and reproductive justice. On the Summit’s Global Commitments, some improvement is evident in meeting unmet need for family planning. But no region has registered positive movement towards zero preventable maternal deaths. Greater access to family planning has yet to translate into better maternal health outcomes. There is some progress in offering comprehensive and age-responsive information and education on sexuality and reproduction and adolescent-friendly, comprehensive, quality and timely services. Certain regions and countries have advanced in providing timely, quality and disaggregated data. More must be done, but this creates opportunities for ensuring that data capture intersecting challenges and are used to inform laws, policies and programmes. Domestic and international finance is critical to sexual and reproductive justice but persistently lags commitments. More than 4 billion people globally will lack access to at least one key sexual and reproductive health service during their lives Dr Alvaro Bermejo, Director-General for the International Planned Parenthood Federation, said: “Three years on from the Nairobi Summit and while we have seen some progress in sexual and reproductive health and rights across countries like Colombia, Mexico and Thailand, globally, we remain far from reaching the commitments made at ICPD 25 - that all women and girls will have autonomy over their bodies and lives through universal access to sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR). “With the devasting loss of abortion rights across the U.S having a disproportionate impact on poor women and women of colour, ongoing humanitarian crises across countries like Afghanistan, Ethiopia and Ukraine creating unliveable, unsafe and unsustainable conditions for millions, and the loss of billions of dollars of funding severely affecting access to sexual and reproductive health care for those most in need, 2022 continues to demonstrate the critical need to champion sexual and reproductive justice for all - recognizing the importance of intersecting oppressions on people’s ability to make decisions about their bodies, lives and futures. “At the International Planned Parenthood Federation (IPPF), we remain dedicated to helping countries deliver on the Nairobi commitments as we approach ICPD 30. Using our unique position as a locally-owned, globally connected organization, we will continue to work in solidarity with donors, governments, partners and communities to ensure that everyone, everywhere, can access high-quality SRH care, especially those who are most often excluded, locked out and left behind. “IPPF also urges governments to heed the Commission’s call to action and do more to achieve sexual and reproductive justice. This means tackling the economic, social and legal barriers that prevent its implementation, more financial investment, including in universal healthcare, increased solidarity with partners and the sense of urgency needed to get the job done. The lives and futures of millions depend on it.” For media enquiries, please contact Karmen Ivey on [email protected] or [email protected]   About the International Planned Parenthood Federation The International Planned Parenthood Federation (IPPF) is a global service provider and advocate of sexual and reproductive health and rights for all.   For 70 years, IPPF, through its 108 Member Associations and seven partners, has delivered high-quality sexual and reproductive healthcare and helped advance sexual rights, especially for people with intersectional and diverse needs that are currently unmet. Our Member Associations and partners are independent organizations that are locally owned, which means the support and care they provide is informed by local expertise and context. We advocate for a world where people are provided with the information they need to make informed decisions about their sexual health and bodies. We stand up and fight for sexual and reproductive rights and against those who seek to deny people their human right to bodily autonomy and freedom. We deliver care that is rooted in rights, respect, and dignity - no matter what.