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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

The Kenynan flag - black, red and green horizontal stripes with a shield in the middle

Kenyan High Court makes landmark ruling on safe abortion care

In a landmark verdict today, the High Court of Malindi has ruled that safe abortion care is a fundamental right under the Constitution of Kenya and that arbitrary arrests and prosecution of patients and healthcare providers, for seeking or offering such services, is completely illegal. Specifically, the Court ruled that: Abortion care is a fundamental right under the Constitution of Kenya and that arbitrary arrests and prosecution of patients and healthcare providers seeking or offering such services is illegal. Protecting access to abortion impacts vital Constitutional values, including dignity, autonomy, equality, and bodily integrity. Criminalizing abortion under Penal Code without Constitutional statutory framework is an impairment to the enjoyment of women’s reproductive right. For years, women and girls in Kenya have faced sustained and pervasive discrimination hampering their access to seeking reproductive healthcare services; the 1963 Penal Code criminalizes all abortion care, including those allowed under the Constitution 2010, which guarantees the right to healthcare, including access to reproductive health services. The Constitution only permits safe abortion if in the opinion of a trained health professional, there is need for emergency treatment, or the life or health of the mother is at risk/in danger. The court case in question, filed in November 2020, involved PAK, a minor 16 years of age from Kilifi County. PAK experienced complications during pregnancy and immediately sought medical care at a nearby clinic where a trained clinical officer attended to her. Upon examining her, the clinical officer determined that she had lost the pregnancy and proceeded to provide her with essential and life-saving post-abortion care. Policy officers stormed the clinic, in the midst of the treatment, stopping the medical procedure and confiscating PAK’s treatment records. They then proceeded to illegally arrest both PAK and the clinical officer. Both were taken to Ganze Police Patrol Base where PAK was not allowed to access further medical care for the next two days and was forced to sign a statement which was contrary to PAK’s description of the events. The police also forced PAK to undergo another detailed medical examination at Kilifi County Hospital to obtain evidence to prove the alleged offence of abortion. The clinical officer was detained for one week while PAK was remanded to a juvenile remand for more than a month, whilst she and her family sought to secure the cash bail for her release. The Malindi High Court has further directed the Parliament to enact an abortion law and public policy framework that aligns with the Kenyan Constitution. Additionally, the Court has confirmed that communication between a patient and the healthcare provider is confidential, which is guaranteed and protected under the Constitution and other enabling laws, save for where the disclosure is consented to by the patient or is in the public interest in line with the limitations as provided for in the Constitution. In its decision, the Court also ruled that PAK was recovering from medical procedure and police did not have the medical qualifications to determine and confirm that she was medically-fit to leave the clinic, regardless of her admission status at the clinic. Additionally, the Court found that PAK’s arrest was inhuman and degrading, and being a minor, she ought not to have been interrogated without legal representation. Marie-Evelyne Petrus-Barry, Africa Regional Director from the International Planned Parenthood Federation, said: “We are absolutely delighted to hear this news and applaud the High Court of Malindi's ruling confirming that abortion care is a fundamental right under the Constitution of Kenya and that arbitrary arrests and prosecution of patients and healthcare providers for seeking or offering such services is illegal. We are also very pleased to hear that the Court has directed Parliament to enact an abortion law and public policy framework that aligns with the Constitution. This is a victory for women and girls not only in Kenya, but across Africa! Access to quality abortion is essential to guarantee the health and reproductive rights of women and girls everywhere. At IPPF, we are committed to reducing the number of deaths of women and girls who are forced to turn to unsafe abortion methods for fear of arrests and harassment. We will continue to supply and support safe and legal abortion services and care for women and girls everywhere.” The petitioners were represented by the Center for Reproductive Rights a network of reproductive health providers whose member was the second petitioner in this case and a collaborative partner of IPPF. The advocates were Martin Onyango, Head of Legal Strategies for Africa, and Prudence Mutiso, Legal Advisor for Africa. Nelly Munyasia, Executive Director of Reproductive Health Network Kenya (RHNK), , welcomed the court’s decision: “Many qualified reproductive healthcare practitioners continue to be arrested, detained, and prosecuted for providing legal medical care. The court’s decision confirms that prosecution against health providers cannot hold where the prosecution has not established that; the health professional in question was unqualified to conduct the procedure; the life or health of the woman was not in danger or the woman was not in need of emergency treatment,” Ms. Munyasia said. Evelyne Opondo, Senior Regional Director for Africa at Center for Reproductive Rights said: “Today’s victory is for all women, girls, and healthcare providers who have been treated as criminals for seeking and providing abortion care. The court has vindicated our position by affirming that forcing a woman to carry an unwanted pregnancy to term or to seek out an unsafe abortion is a gross violation of her rights to privacy and bodily autonomy. Further, the continued restrictive abortion laws inhibit quality improvement possible to protect women with unintended pregnancies.” Center fact sheet: “The Impact of the Misalignment Between Kenya’s Constitution and the Penal Code on Access to Reproductive Health Care”

The American flag with stars and stripes

Statement on the U.S Congress' FY22 spending bill which fails to permanently repeal the global gag rule

U.S congressional leaders have announced they have reached a final spending deal for the fiscal year 2022. This bill results from months of negotiations over funding and policy decisions, including those that impact sexual and reproductive healthcare globally. Despite the inclusion of language to permanently repeal the global gag rule passed in the House and introduced in the Senate, the final legislation fails to permanently end the harmful policy that has destroyed the lives of women and girls around the world for so many years. It also does not remove discriminatory abortion bans like the Hyde, Helms, and Weldon amendments or include much-needed new investments in sexual and reproductive healthcare and international family planning programs. Dr Alvaro Bermejo, Director-General of the International Planned Parenthood Federation, said: “We are outraged to learn that the long-awaited U.S spending bill failed to permanently repeal the global gag rule, nor did it include other areas of sexual and reproductive health and rights progress on which advocates had built strong momentum. The bill fell foul to anti-choice Congress members whose primary goal is to control the bodies and reproductive rights of women and girls they will never know, whose lives they could never imagine. “Failure to utilize this golden opportunity risks the continuation of the flip-flopping of American policy that has played with the lives of millions across the globe for nearly 40 years. Ultimately the global gag rule destroys long-term access to lifesaving contraception, maternal health and HIV/STI services and forces vulnerable women and girls to carry pregnancies to term or make the agonizing decision to get a potentially deadly unsafe abortion. It also manipulates the ability of international organizations, like IPPF, to use their own funding to provide legal, safe abortion, which unethically denies women care and imposes neo-colonial policies around the world. “While the global gag rule poses serious challenges to sustained engagement with USAID, especially at a time when anti-choice movements continue to attack the rights of people worldwide, IPPF is grateful to the Biden-Harris administration for the current rescission of the policy. We will continue to engage with U.S Government global health assistance programs when possible. We are also thankful to our relentless Member Association, the Planned Parenthood Federation of America. Despite the challenges, they have worked tirelessly alongside thousands of women’s rights campaigners across the United States and worldwide to advocate for vulnerable women and girls everywhere. The fight for reproductive rights and justice will not end until every person can access high-quality sexual and reproductive healthcare when and where they need it.” Santos Siminone, Executive Director at Associação Moçambicana para Desenvolvimento da Família (AMODEFA), said: “We are deeply saddened by the failure to permanently repeal the Global Gag Rule. For AMODEFA, IPPF’s Member Association in Mozambique, a national provider of sexual and reproductive healthcare in the country since 1989, the impact of the global gag rule meant a $2 million gap in funding - about 60% of our total budget. “The impact was almost instantaneous, forcing the closure of six programs across 12 districts in Mozambique. This denied nearly 390,000 clients access to contraception, STIs, HIV, malaria, and tuberculosis services. Almost every local population was affected, with closures impacting adolescents, youths, women, and marginalized people. “For the people we serve, the permanent repeal of the policy would have meant an end to the violation of human rights. It would have meant dignity and that women’s lives would no longer be at risk. It would have meant an end to fear, pain, tears, and chaos, especially for black and brown women from low-income countries who bear the brunt of restrictive abortion policies.” For media enquiries, please contact Karmen Ivey on [email protected] or [email protected]  

The Guatemalan Flag - striped light blue either side with a white stripe in the middle and a wreath

Statement on the Guatemalan law on 'Protection of the Life and the Family'

On International Women's Day 2022, Guatemala's Congress passed a law which triples the prison sentences for women seeking abortion care, prohibits same-sex marriage and further bans the teaching of comprehensive sexuality education and sexual diversity in schools, saying that teaching "anything other than heterosexuality is normal" is against the law.  The "Life and Family Protection Law" was passed by an overwhelming majority of 160 - 8 in the conservative-led Congress, but still needs to be signed by Guatemala's president, Alejandro Giammattei, in order to come into force. Under the new law, women who "have induced their own abortion or given their consent to another person to carry it out" will face a minimum of five years in jail, but the sentences could reach a maximum of 25 years. Abortion is illegal in Guatemala except in cases where the woman's life is at risk. This law is the latest of a series of laws to attack human rights across the country, including gender equality and sexual and reproductive health and rights. The initiative goes against human rights agreements, especially for women and LGBTI+ people and condemns and denies the diversity of families including mono-parental homes.  Eugenia Lopez Uribe, IPPF's Regional Director for Americas and the Caribbean Region, said: "It is disturbing that on International Women's Day 2022, the Guatemalan Congress passed a law that completely violates the human, sexual and reproductive rights of women, girls and marginalized people. "While countries across Latin America were celebrating the lives and rights of women, Guatemala has chosen to criminalize those making the best decision for themselves and their families, while also risking imprisoning vulnerable women and girls who have experienced sexual violence or suffered pregnancy loss. By severely limiting access to safe and post-abortion care, the law will undoubtedly lead to an increase in unsafe abortions and a decrease in prenatal care, resulting in life-long disabilities for some women and a rise in maternal deaths. "At the same time, by prohibiting same-sex marriage, limiting comprehensive sexuality education and enabling the discrimination of sexual diversity, the Guatemalan government is creating a society that fosters miseducation, stigma, intolerance and homophobia and fuelling the persecution of LGBTI and non-binary people. "IPPF strongly condemns the passing of this archaic law and demands that the Guatemalan government fulfils international human rights agreements. We stand in solidarity with affected people across Guatemala and the organizations working tirelessly to ensure that all people have the freedom to make their own choices." For media enquiries, please contact Karmen Ivey on [email protected] or [email protected]  

A healthcare worker with a client

IPPF statement on the WHO Abortion Care Guidelines 2022

The International Planned Parenthood Federation (IPPF) welcomes the newly released World Health Organisation (WHO) guidelines on abortion care, launched on Wednesday 9 March. Developed by WHO, with the support of partners including IPPF, these evidence-based guidelines are critical for ensuring the provision of quality abortion care for all women, girls and people who can become pregnant. The WHO Abortion Care Guidelines consolidate and bring together over 50 recommendations spanning clinical practice, health service delivery, and legal and policy interventions to support quality abortion care. They present a holistic and interconnected approach to abortion care, firmly grounded in principles of human rights. IPPF particularly welcomes clear recommendations provided on simple primary care level interventions including task sharing by a wide range of health workers and access to medical abortion pills, as well as the inclusion of recommendations on abortion self-care and for the first time the use of telemedicine to support access to abortion care. We also applaud the recommendation to remove medically unnecessary policy barriers to safe abortion, which put women and girls at risk and are tantamount to reproductive coercion. IPPF’s Director General, Dr Alvaro Bermejo, welcomed the new guidelines: “Access to quality abortion care is essential to guarantee the health and reproductive rights of women and girls everywhere. At IPPF, we are committed to ensuring that every person can choose whether or not to be pregnant, and the WHO Abortion Care Guidelines are vital for helping us reach this goal. “These guidelines represent the latest, evidence-based best practice in abortion care. They provide essential recommendations to guide and support health systems, organizations, and health workers to provide abortion care to the best quality and with the person at the centre. “We will work closely with WHO to ensure the wide implementation and use of these new guidelines, both within IPPF and with governments and partners. IPPF and our network of Member Associations will use these guidelines to expand access to quality, person-centred abortion care and to create an enabling environment for abortion care. Together, we will continue improving access to quality abortion care for all.” The WHO abortion care guideline updates the former edition, released in 2012, and consolidates existing and new recommendations. The digital version is available at https://srhr.org/abortioncare

Woman outside the Colombian constitutional with eyes closed holding a sign saying liberalize abortion

Colombia decriminalizes abortion

The Colombian Constitutional Court has decriminalized abortion up to 24 weeks in another victory for the Green Wave sweeping through Latin America.  The historic decision follows years of campaigning by women's right's activists across Colombia and came off the back of two lawsuits that asked the court to declare article 122 of the penal code, that "the woman who causes her abortion or allows another to cause it, will incur a prison sentence from sixteen (16) to fifty-four (54) months" as unconstitutional. Having delayed several times over the past two years, the court called an extraordinary meeting on Monday 21st February 2022, and took just a few hours to come to its decision - ruling five against four to decriminalize the healthcare procedure. The decision will go into effect immediately. ProFamilia, IPPF's Member Association in Colombia, and Colombia's largest provider of legal abortion care was heavily involved in pushing to extend the rights of those needing to access abortion care. Colombia follows other countries in the region such as Mexico and Argentina, while parliamentarians in Ecuador last week eased regulations to allow access to abortion in cases of rape. Marta Royo, Executive Director for Profamilia, IPPF's Member Association in Colombia, said: "Today is a ground-breaking moment for the people of Colombia and a long-overdue guarantee of reproductive rights and dignity for all those who need abortion care, especially poor and rural women who bear the brunt of restrictive abortion policies. "The decriminalization of abortion up to 24 weeks in Colombia and the Green Wave movement across Latin America is centred not just on public health, but also the full lives, citizenship and human rights of girls, adolescents, and women – who, for multiple reasons, including inequity, access to education, gender-based violence and barriers to healthcare – continue to face unintended pregnancies. "The freedom for women to finally make their own choices about their pregnancies and their bodies is fundamental to disrupting the cycle of poverty that so many in Colombia face. This monumental decision is also a win for the dedicated health care providers, who will finally be recognized as people who simply care about the needs of others."  While Colombian women have supposedly been able to access abortion care since 2006 under three circumstances: if their life or health is at risk, in cases of fatal foetal abnormalities, or if the pregnancy is the by-product of rape or incest, in reality,  the criminalization of abortion persisted. The Guttmacher Institute found that less than one per cent of the estimated 400,000 abortions carried out each year in Colombia are performed legally, with women, especially poor, rural, vulnerable and marginalized women, facing significant barriers to accessing safe and timely abortion care. Many Colombian women are instead forced to carry their pregnancies to term or else seek other methods to end them. Figures collected by ProFamilia showed that during 2020, there were at least 26,223 unsafe abortions across Colombia, a startling amount for which consequences range from infection to life-changing injuries to death. As per the previous abortion law, other women have been imprisoned for up to four and a half years for having an abortion, even in cases where abortion should have been legal. In a shocking example of discrimination, data collected showed that poor rural women were more likely to be charged, with a third of those who faced charges also survivors of sexual violence. Eugenia Lopez Uribe, IPPF's Regional Director for Americas and the Caribbean Region, said: "Today Colombia took another step in the right direction for gender equality and full human rights for all, and we are incredibly proud of IPPF's Member Association, ProFamilia, for their tireless work alongside thousands of activists across Colombia and Latin America "This 24-week decriminalization is historic in the region and especially remarkable when we consider the current fragility of abortion rights globally and the anti-choice movements which continue to plague nations across the world, including in countries close to home like the United States of America. "While today we are celebrating this historic decision, the Green Wave is strong and growing, and the fight for reproductive rights and justice will not end until every person can access high-quality sexual and reproductive healthcare when and where they need it."    

Woman outside the Colombian constitutional with eyes closed holding a sign

Colombia decriminalizes abortion

Today, the Colombian Constitutional Court decriminalized abortion up to 24 weeks in another victory for the Green Wave sweeping through Latin America. The historic decision follows years of campaigning by women's right's activists across Colombia and came off the back of two lawsuits that asked the court to declare article 122 of the penal code, that "the woman who causes her abortion or allows another to cause it, will incur a prison sentence from sixteen (16) to fifty-four (54) months" as unconstitutional. The court called an extraordinary meeting today, Monday 21st February, and took just a few hours to come to its decision which will go into effect immediately. ProFamilia, the International Planned Federation's Member Association in Colombia, and Colombia's largest provider of legal abortion care were heavily involved in pushing to extend the rights of those needing to access abortion care. Marta Royo, Executive Director for Profamilia, IPPF's Member Association in Colombia, said: "Today is a ground-breaking moment for the people of Colombia and a long-overdue guarantee of reproductive rights and dignity for all those who need abortion care, especially poor and rural women who bear the brunt of restrictive abortion policies. "The decriminalization of abortion up to 24 weeks in Colombia and the Green Wave movement across Latin America is centred not just on public health, but also the full lives, citizenship and human rights of girls, adolescents, and women – who, for multiple reasons, including inequity, access to education, gender-based violence and barriers to healthcare – continue to face unintended pregnancies. "The freedom for women to finally make their own choices about their pregnancies and their bodies is fundamental to disrupting the cycle of poverty that so many in Colombia face. This monumental decision is also a win for the dedicated health care providers, who will finally be recognized as people who simply care about the needs of others."  While Colombian women have supposedly been able to access abortion care since 2006 under three circumstances: if their life or health is at risk, in cases of fatal foetal abnormalities, or if the pregnancy is the by-product of rape or incest, in reality,  the criminalization of abortion persisted. The Guttmacher Institute found that less than one per cent of the estimated 400,000 abortions carried out each year in Colombia are performed legally, with women, especially poor, rural, vulnerable and marginalized women, facing significant barriers to accessing safe and timely abortion care. Many Colombian women are instead forced to carry their pregnancies to term or else seek other methods to end them. Figures collected by ProFamilia showed that during 2020, there were at least 26,223 unsafe abortions across Colombia, a startling amount for which consequences range from infection to life-changing injuries to death. As per the previous abortion law, other women have been imprisoned for up to four and a half years for having an abortion, even in cases where abortion should have been legal. In a shocking example of discrimination, data collected showed that poor rural women were more likely to be charged, with a third of those who faced charges also survivors of sexual violence. Eugenia Lopez Uribe, IPPF's Regional Director for Americas and the Caribbean Region, said: "Today Colombia took another step in the right direction for gender equality and full human rights for all, and we are incredibly proud of IPPF's Member Association, ProFamilia, for their tireless work alongside thousands of activists across Colombia and Latin America "This 24-week decriminalization is historic in the region and especially remarkable when we consider the current fragility of abortion rights globally and the anti-choice movements which continue to plague nations across the world, including in countries close to home like the United States of America. "While today we are celebrating this historic decision, the Green Wave is strong and growing, and the fight for reproductive rights and justice will not end until every person can access high-quality sexual and reproductive healthcare when and where they need it." For media enquiries in English, please contact Karmen Ivey on [email protected] or [email protected]  For media enquiries in Spanish or during UK night-time hours, please contact Pamela Martin Garcia on [email protected]    

Woman waving a green flag in support of abortion care

Mexico’s Supreme Court votes to decriminalize abortion

The International Planned Parenthood Federation (IPPF) welcomes the unanimous decision taken by the Supreme Court of Mexico to decriminalize abortion. The decision is a step closer for women and pregnant people to fully exercise their reproductive rights and bodily autonomy through safe and legal abortion care.  Abortion is legal in four out of the 32 federal entities in Mexico. Only four other countries in the region - Argentina, Cuba, Uruguay, and Guyana have almost unrestricted and legal access to abortion care. Eugenia Lopez Uribe, IPPF’s Regional Director for the Americas and Caribbean said: “This historic ruling by the Supreme Court of Mexico is thanks to the feminist movement in Mexico and in the region, who have been relentless in their fight the law to recognize the dignity and humanity of people seeking abortion care. This decision will continue the Green Wave ripple effect across the region - we look at Argentina last year and now Mexico, these movements give us hope and motivation to continue to fight for sexual and reproductive health and rights for all.” Esperanza Delgado, Strategic Director for Advocacy and Interinstitutional Relations of MEXFAM added: “September 7 will become a memorable date in Mexico. In a progressive pronouncement in favour of reproductive autonomy, respect for the secular State, and the rights of women and pregnant people over those of the embryo, Mexico's highest legal authority indicated that it is unconstitutional to punish those who decide to terminate a pregnancy at its early stage.   “All of us who have joined forces and who are fortunate enough to fight for the recognition of human rights, should be proud and may our achievement inspire others in every corner of the planet. MEXFAM is committed to making this long-awaited legislation a reality for every person that decides to choose.” For media inquiries please contact [email protected] 

The American flag with stars and stripes

Statement on the first anniversary of the rescindment of the Global Gag Rule

28 January 2022 heralds one year since President Biden rescinded the harmful Global Gag Rule (GGR). Otherwise known as the Mexico City Policy, its expansion in 2017 under Trump affected 12 billion dollars of funding, impacting thousands of life-saving healthcare services worldwide – especially across low-income countries. But while rescindment is a positive first step, the long-term harm of the Global Gag Rule lingers on. For IPPF, 53 healthcare projects in 32 countries were hit, with some Member Associations losing up to 60% of their funding. Programmes affected include HIV prevention and care, maternal health and nutrition, STI services, gender-based violence prevention, and services for vulnerable children. And although we have begun to re-establish long-standing partnerships, it takes time for funding to flow and to re-open closed healthcare clinics and community services – with some lost forever. In the meantime, there are women and girls who desperately need healthcare that have nowhere to turn. But in February, the US Congress has an opportunity to change the sexual and reproductive health landscape forever through a final negotiated funding bill that includes a permanent end to the deadly Global Gag Rule. As we celebrate one year of rescindment, we know the work is not done yet, but we are hopeful for the futures of millions of women and girls worldwide. We urge the US Congress to permanently repeal the Global Gag Rule to fully eradicate the lasting impact of the Mexico City Policy that has harmed women and girls around the world for 40 years.   Dr Alvaro Bermejo, Director-General of the International Planned Parenthood Federation, said: "Five years ago, Trump expanded the Global Gag Rule, a devastating neo-colonialist policy that forbids US aid to any organization that supports access to safe abortion care, disproportionately affecting women and girls in low-income countries. Today we mark one year since President Biden rescinded it, but the long-term harm and impacts don't simply go away.  "The Gag Rule is a callously designed mechanism set up to deny women and girls the right to decide what happens to their bodies. Its implementation doesn't just destroy life-saving abortion services but erodes access to other sexual and reproductive healthcare, including contraception, leading ultimately to increases in unintended pregnancy and forcing many to turn to unsafe and dangerous abortion methods.   "While rescindment is a positive first step, the looming threat of reinstatement under future anti-rights administrations undermines the sustainability of global sexual health programs and the pace of progress. After 40 long years, the time to act is now – we urge the US Congress to end this political game and stand up for the futures of millions of at-risk women and girls by permanently repealing the Global Gag Rule.  "By leaving a legacy that gives hope and stability to the sexual and reproductive health of people worldwide, the US will once again be a champion, leader, and innovator of human rights for all." For media inquiries please contact [email protected] 

Abortion rights protestor with green scarf over her face
23 November 2021

Will Colombia seize this opportunity to decriminalize abortion?

The Colombian Constitutional Court has a historical opportunity in its hands as it decides on whether or not to completely remove the crime of abortion from the penal code, making it a public health matter. Unlike many others in Colombia, I grew up in a home where I wanted for nothing. A fortunate child in a country where meeting basic needs continues to be a matter of privilege, the reflection of an unequal society mired by the infinite cycle of poverty. I grew up amid discussions of politics and human rights in a safe environment where I was encouraged to formulate my own thoughts. Yet even for me, like so many Colombian women and girls, speaking openly about sex and sexuality was strictly forbidden. Despite this, Colombia remains a society that sees motherhood as the only achievable goal in a woman's life. A paradox that is difficult to understand. From a young age, girls face the power of stereotypes and gender roles, coming to understand them as superior to anything else and realizing that when it comes to reproductive autonomy, there is no space to think, express opinions, and much less act. Since 2006, Colombian women have supposedly been able to access abortion care under three circumstances: if their life or health is at risk, in cases of fatal foetal abnormalities, or if the pregnancy is the by-product of rape or incest. Yet in spite of these laws, the criminalization of abortion persists. The Guttmacher Institute found that less than one per cent of the estimated 400,000 abortions carried out each year in Colombia are performed legally, with women, especially poor, rural, vulnerable and marginalized women, facing significant barriers to accessing safe and timely abortion care. Many women are forced to carry their pregnancies to term or else seek other methods to end them. Figures collected by ProFamilia, IPPF's Member Association and the largest provider of legal abortions in Colombia, showed that during 2020, there were at least 26,223 unsafe abortions across Colombia, a startling amount for which consequences range from infection to life-changing injuries to death. Other women have been imprisoned for up to four and a half years for having an abortion, even in cases where abortion should have been legal. In a sickening twist of events, charges actually increased by 320% from 2005 to 2008, with around 400 women prosecuted for procuring an abortion each year. Perhaps the most saddening example of discrimination is that most women charged were poor rural women, and a third, survivors of sexual violence. The decriminalization of abortion and the Green Wave movement is centred on public health, human rights, and the full citizenship and lives of girls, adolescents, and women – who, for multiple reasons, including gender-based violence, inequity, lack of education and barriers to healthcare – continue to face unintended pregnancies. And for whom the freedom to make choices about their pregnancies and their bodies will reduce adolescent and unintended pregnancy, reduce gender-based violence and help break the cycle of poverty that so many in Colombia face.   For the dedicated health care providers, who also bear the burden of criminalization and stigma, decriminalization is an opportunity to make reproductive healthcare an integral part of physical, mental and social well-being. And a chance for abortion care providers to finally be recognized as people who simply care about the needs of others.   So after a long, rigorous and objective process of data, figures, findings and stories, Colombia is on the cusp of change. To achieve total decriminalization would be groundbreaking, a decision that would change the course of Colombia and Latin America forever. Especially in the face of terrifying anti-choice movements which continue to plague nations across the globe, removing long-held rights from citizens, as we have seen in Texas and Poland. The magistrates should not be afraid of making the right decision. From Uruguay to Argentina, Mexico, and now Colombia, I am hopeful that my country will join the right side of history. Originally published by Thomson Reuters Foundation News

A positive pregnancy test
27 September 2021

My abortion journey

Ada's abortion journeyTake a journey with Ada to discover her story. Like many people, she has just found out that she is pregnant, but she cannot afford to raise another child. She has decided to have an abortion. What will her options be, and what will she choose? Take a couple of minutes today to share her journey – click "Start" to begin...Your name is Ada. You've found out you are pregnant, but you cannot afford to raise another child. You have decided to have an abortion.What do you do?On the internet, you discover safe2choose.org and read on their website about available abortion care in your country and about others who have also had an abortion. You also find a toll-free number for an IPPF member association in your country that offers abortion information and support.You decide to:You call your friend Maryam, who explains to you that she knows many women who have had one or more abortions. She tells you that she herself has had two. She gives you advice about how to find information online, and also about the clinic where she had her abortions. You decide to:You speak to a safe2choose counsellor by live chat, and she offers confidential and non-judgmental counselling in your language, free of charge.You learn that there are two types of abortion available to you:• An in-clinic procedure called a manual vacuum aspiration (MVA), which includes the use of a suction device to remove the pregnancy. This option is typically offered up to 13 weeks of gestation and takes about 10-15 minutes.• A medical abortion, which involves taking pills to induce an abortion. This option is typically offered up to 12 to 13 weeks' gestation and can be managed in clinic or at home.You decide to:You speak to an IPPF member service provider, who offers you confidential and non-judgmental counselling about your options. They explain the two types of abortion available to you, which the safe2choose counsellors had also explained – medical abortion with pills and manual vacuum aspiration (MVA).You decide to:They explain two types of abortion available to you:• An in-clinic procedure called a manual vacuum aspiration (MVA), which includes the use of a suction device to remove the pregnancy. This option is typically offered up to 13 weeks of gestation and takes about 10-15 minutes.• A medical abortion, which involves taking pills to induce an abortion. This option is typically offered up to 12 to 13 weeks' gestation and can be managed in clinic or at home.You decide to:On the internet, you discover safe2choose.org and read on their website about available abortion care in your country and about others who have also had an abortion. You speak to one of their counsellors by live chat, and she offers confidential and non-judgmental counselling in your language, free of charge.You learn that there are two types of abortion available to you:• An in-clinic procedure called a manual vacuum aspiration (MVA), which includes the use of a suction device to remove the pregnancy. This option is typically offered up to 13 weeks of gestation and takes about 10-15 minutes.• A medical abortion, which involves taking pills to induce an abortion. This option is typically offered up to 13 weeks in-clinic or up to 12 weeks at home.You decide to:You've made the choice that best suits your needs and situation, and you've been supported to do so throughout the process. safe2choose.org and IPPF offer information, support and a range of options for person-centred and rights-based abortion care for everyone, regardless of their age, religion, nationality or social class. safe2choose's team of international counselors are here for support throughout the process at anytime. IPPF offers quality and non-judgmental abortion care through static clinics, community-based care, remote counseling, and support for self-managed medical abortion.For further information, please visit the following:• safe2choose's information on medical abortion and manual vacuum aspiration (MVA)• IPPF's short videos on medical abortion and manual vacuum aspiration (MVA)• Brands of medical abortion available at country level – safe2choose information and MedAb.orgYou visit a midwife at an IPPF member clinic who offers you confidential and non-judgmental counselling about your options.They explain two types of abortion available to you:• An in-clinic procedure called a manual vacuum aspiration (MVA), which includes the use of a suction device to remove the pregnancy. This option is typically offered up to 13 weeks of gestation and takes about 10-15 minutes.• A medical abortion, which involves taking pills to induce an abortion. This option is typically offered up to 12 to 13 weeks' gestation and can be managed in clinic or at home.You decide to:You've made the choice that best suits your needs and situation, and you've been supported to do so throughout the process.Abortions are very common and one of the safest medical procedures when done under the right conditions and with the right information. Everyone regardless of their age, religion, nationality or social class deserves access to a safe abortion. safe2choose.org and IPPF offer information, support and a range of options for person-centred and rights-based abortion care.safe2choose's team of international counsellors are here to support you throughout the process at anytime.You speak to an IPPF member service provider, who offers you confidential and non-judgmental counselling about your options.They explain two types of abortion available to you:• An in-clinic procedure called a manual vacuum aspiration (MVA), which includes the use of a suction device to remove the pregnancy. This option is typically offered up to 13 weeks of gestation and takes about 10-15 minutes.• A medical abortion, which involves taking pills to induce an abortion. This option is typically offered up to 12 to 13 weeks' gestation and can be managed in clinic or at home.You decide to: Also available in French, Spanish, and Portuguese

The Kenynan flag - black, red and green horizontal stripes with a shield in the middle

Kenyan High Court makes landmark ruling on safe abortion care

In a landmark verdict today, the High Court of Malindi has ruled that safe abortion care is a fundamental right under the Constitution of Kenya and that arbitrary arrests and prosecution of patients and healthcare providers, for seeking or offering such services, is completely illegal. Specifically, the Court ruled that: Abortion care is a fundamental right under the Constitution of Kenya and that arbitrary arrests and prosecution of patients and healthcare providers seeking or offering such services is illegal. Protecting access to abortion impacts vital Constitutional values, including dignity, autonomy, equality, and bodily integrity. Criminalizing abortion under Penal Code without Constitutional statutory framework is an impairment to the enjoyment of women’s reproductive right. For years, women and girls in Kenya have faced sustained and pervasive discrimination hampering their access to seeking reproductive healthcare services; the 1963 Penal Code criminalizes all abortion care, including those allowed under the Constitution 2010, which guarantees the right to healthcare, including access to reproductive health services. The Constitution only permits safe abortion if in the opinion of a trained health professional, there is need for emergency treatment, or the life or health of the mother is at risk/in danger. The court case in question, filed in November 2020, involved PAK, a minor 16 years of age from Kilifi County. PAK experienced complications during pregnancy and immediately sought medical care at a nearby clinic where a trained clinical officer attended to her. Upon examining her, the clinical officer determined that she had lost the pregnancy and proceeded to provide her with essential and life-saving post-abortion care. Policy officers stormed the clinic, in the midst of the treatment, stopping the medical procedure and confiscating PAK’s treatment records. They then proceeded to illegally arrest both PAK and the clinical officer. Both were taken to Ganze Police Patrol Base where PAK was not allowed to access further medical care for the next two days and was forced to sign a statement which was contrary to PAK’s description of the events. The police also forced PAK to undergo another detailed medical examination at Kilifi County Hospital to obtain evidence to prove the alleged offence of abortion. The clinical officer was detained for one week while PAK was remanded to a juvenile remand for more than a month, whilst she and her family sought to secure the cash bail for her release. The Malindi High Court has further directed the Parliament to enact an abortion law and public policy framework that aligns with the Kenyan Constitution. Additionally, the Court has confirmed that communication between a patient and the healthcare provider is confidential, which is guaranteed and protected under the Constitution and other enabling laws, save for where the disclosure is consented to by the patient or is in the public interest in line with the limitations as provided for in the Constitution. In its decision, the Court also ruled that PAK was recovering from medical procedure and police did not have the medical qualifications to determine and confirm that she was medically-fit to leave the clinic, regardless of her admission status at the clinic. Additionally, the Court found that PAK’s arrest was inhuman and degrading, and being a minor, she ought not to have been interrogated without legal representation. Marie-Evelyne Petrus-Barry, Africa Regional Director from the International Planned Parenthood Federation, said: “We are absolutely delighted to hear this news and applaud the High Court of Malindi's ruling confirming that abortion care is a fundamental right under the Constitution of Kenya and that arbitrary arrests and prosecution of patients and healthcare providers for seeking or offering such services is illegal. We are also very pleased to hear that the Court has directed Parliament to enact an abortion law and public policy framework that aligns with the Constitution. This is a victory for women and girls not only in Kenya, but across Africa! Access to quality abortion is essential to guarantee the health and reproductive rights of women and girls everywhere. At IPPF, we are committed to reducing the number of deaths of women and girls who are forced to turn to unsafe abortion methods for fear of arrests and harassment. We will continue to supply and support safe and legal abortion services and care for women and girls everywhere.” The petitioners were represented by the Center for Reproductive Rights a network of reproductive health providers whose member was the second petitioner in this case and a collaborative partner of IPPF. The advocates were Martin Onyango, Head of Legal Strategies for Africa, and Prudence Mutiso, Legal Advisor for Africa. Nelly Munyasia, Executive Director of Reproductive Health Network Kenya (RHNK), , welcomed the court’s decision: “Many qualified reproductive healthcare practitioners continue to be arrested, detained, and prosecuted for providing legal medical care. The court’s decision confirms that prosecution against health providers cannot hold where the prosecution has not established that; the health professional in question was unqualified to conduct the procedure; the life or health of the woman was not in danger or the woman was not in need of emergency treatment,” Ms. Munyasia said. Evelyne Opondo, Senior Regional Director for Africa at Center for Reproductive Rights said: “Today’s victory is for all women, girls, and healthcare providers who have been treated as criminals for seeking and providing abortion care. The court has vindicated our position by affirming that forcing a woman to carry an unwanted pregnancy to term or to seek out an unsafe abortion is a gross violation of her rights to privacy and bodily autonomy. Further, the continued restrictive abortion laws inhibit quality improvement possible to protect women with unintended pregnancies.” Center fact sheet: “The Impact of the Misalignment Between Kenya’s Constitution and the Penal Code on Access to Reproductive Health Care”

The American flag with stars and stripes

Statement on the U.S Congress' FY22 spending bill which fails to permanently repeal the global gag rule

U.S congressional leaders have announced they have reached a final spending deal for the fiscal year 2022. This bill results from months of negotiations over funding and policy decisions, including those that impact sexual and reproductive healthcare globally. Despite the inclusion of language to permanently repeal the global gag rule passed in the House and introduced in the Senate, the final legislation fails to permanently end the harmful policy that has destroyed the lives of women and girls around the world for so many years. It also does not remove discriminatory abortion bans like the Hyde, Helms, and Weldon amendments or include much-needed new investments in sexual and reproductive healthcare and international family planning programs. Dr Alvaro Bermejo, Director-General of the International Planned Parenthood Federation, said: “We are outraged to learn that the long-awaited U.S spending bill failed to permanently repeal the global gag rule, nor did it include other areas of sexual and reproductive health and rights progress on which advocates had built strong momentum. The bill fell foul to anti-choice Congress members whose primary goal is to control the bodies and reproductive rights of women and girls they will never know, whose lives they could never imagine. “Failure to utilize this golden opportunity risks the continuation of the flip-flopping of American policy that has played with the lives of millions across the globe for nearly 40 years. Ultimately the global gag rule destroys long-term access to lifesaving contraception, maternal health and HIV/STI services and forces vulnerable women and girls to carry pregnancies to term or make the agonizing decision to get a potentially deadly unsafe abortion. It also manipulates the ability of international organizations, like IPPF, to use their own funding to provide legal, safe abortion, which unethically denies women care and imposes neo-colonial policies around the world. “While the global gag rule poses serious challenges to sustained engagement with USAID, especially at a time when anti-choice movements continue to attack the rights of people worldwide, IPPF is grateful to the Biden-Harris administration for the current rescission of the policy. We will continue to engage with U.S Government global health assistance programs when possible. We are also thankful to our relentless Member Association, the Planned Parenthood Federation of America. Despite the challenges, they have worked tirelessly alongside thousands of women’s rights campaigners across the United States and worldwide to advocate for vulnerable women and girls everywhere. The fight for reproductive rights and justice will not end until every person can access high-quality sexual and reproductive healthcare when and where they need it.” Santos Siminone, Executive Director at Associação Moçambicana para Desenvolvimento da Família (AMODEFA), said: “We are deeply saddened by the failure to permanently repeal the Global Gag Rule. For AMODEFA, IPPF’s Member Association in Mozambique, a national provider of sexual and reproductive healthcare in the country since 1989, the impact of the global gag rule meant a $2 million gap in funding - about 60% of our total budget. “The impact was almost instantaneous, forcing the closure of six programs across 12 districts in Mozambique. This denied nearly 390,000 clients access to contraception, STIs, HIV, malaria, and tuberculosis services. Almost every local population was affected, with closures impacting adolescents, youths, women, and marginalized people. “For the people we serve, the permanent repeal of the policy would have meant an end to the violation of human rights. It would have meant dignity and that women’s lives would no longer be at risk. It would have meant an end to fear, pain, tears, and chaos, especially for black and brown women from low-income countries who bear the brunt of restrictive abortion policies.” For media enquiries, please contact Karmen Ivey on [email protected] or [email protected]  

The Guatemalan Flag - striped light blue either side with a white stripe in the middle and a wreath

Statement on the Guatemalan law on 'Protection of the Life and the Family'

On International Women's Day 2022, Guatemala's Congress passed a law which triples the prison sentences for women seeking abortion care, prohibits same-sex marriage and further bans the teaching of comprehensive sexuality education and sexual diversity in schools, saying that teaching "anything other than heterosexuality is normal" is against the law.  The "Life and Family Protection Law" was passed by an overwhelming majority of 160 - 8 in the conservative-led Congress, but still needs to be signed by Guatemala's president, Alejandro Giammattei, in order to come into force. Under the new law, women who "have induced their own abortion or given their consent to another person to carry it out" will face a minimum of five years in jail, but the sentences could reach a maximum of 25 years. Abortion is illegal in Guatemala except in cases where the woman's life is at risk. This law is the latest of a series of laws to attack human rights across the country, including gender equality and sexual and reproductive health and rights. The initiative goes against human rights agreements, especially for women and LGBTI+ people and condemns and denies the diversity of families including mono-parental homes.  Eugenia Lopez Uribe, IPPF's Regional Director for Americas and the Caribbean Region, said: "It is disturbing that on International Women's Day 2022, the Guatemalan Congress passed a law that completely violates the human, sexual and reproductive rights of women, girls and marginalized people. "While countries across Latin America were celebrating the lives and rights of women, Guatemala has chosen to criminalize those making the best decision for themselves and their families, while also risking imprisoning vulnerable women and girls who have experienced sexual violence or suffered pregnancy loss. By severely limiting access to safe and post-abortion care, the law will undoubtedly lead to an increase in unsafe abortions and a decrease in prenatal care, resulting in life-long disabilities for some women and a rise in maternal deaths. "At the same time, by prohibiting same-sex marriage, limiting comprehensive sexuality education and enabling the discrimination of sexual diversity, the Guatemalan government is creating a society that fosters miseducation, stigma, intolerance and homophobia and fuelling the persecution of LGBTI and non-binary people. "IPPF strongly condemns the passing of this archaic law and demands that the Guatemalan government fulfils international human rights agreements. We stand in solidarity with affected people across Guatemala and the organizations working tirelessly to ensure that all people have the freedom to make their own choices." For media enquiries, please contact Karmen Ivey on [email protected] or [email protected]  

A healthcare worker with a client

IPPF statement on the WHO Abortion Care Guidelines 2022

The International Planned Parenthood Federation (IPPF) welcomes the newly released World Health Organisation (WHO) guidelines on abortion care, launched on Wednesday 9 March. Developed by WHO, with the support of partners including IPPF, these evidence-based guidelines are critical for ensuring the provision of quality abortion care for all women, girls and people who can become pregnant. The WHO Abortion Care Guidelines consolidate and bring together over 50 recommendations spanning clinical practice, health service delivery, and legal and policy interventions to support quality abortion care. They present a holistic and interconnected approach to abortion care, firmly grounded in principles of human rights. IPPF particularly welcomes clear recommendations provided on simple primary care level interventions including task sharing by a wide range of health workers and access to medical abortion pills, as well as the inclusion of recommendations on abortion self-care and for the first time the use of telemedicine to support access to abortion care. We also applaud the recommendation to remove medically unnecessary policy barriers to safe abortion, which put women and girls at risk and are tantamount to reproductive coercion. IPPF’s Director General, Dr Alvaro Bermejo, welcomed the new guidelines: “Access to quality abortion care is essential to guarantee the health and reproductive rights of women and girls everywhere. At IPPF, we are committed to ensuring that every person can choose whether or not to be pregnant, and the WHO Abortion Care Guidelines are vital for helping us reach this goal. “These guidelines represent the latest, evidence-based best practice in abortion care. They provide essential recommendations to guide and support health systems, organizations, and health workers to provide abortion care to the best quality and with the person at the centre. “We will work closely with WHO to ensure the wide implementation and use of these new guidelines, both within IPPF and with governments and partners. IPPF and our network of Member Associations will use these guidelines to expand access to quality, person-centred abortion care and to create an enabling environment for abortion care. Together, we will continue improving access to quality abortion care for all.” The WHO abortion care guideline updates the former edition, released in 2012, and consolidates existing and new recommendations. The digital version is available at https://srhr.org/abortioncare

Woman outside the Colombian constitutional with eyes closed holding a sign saying liberalize abortion

Colombia decriminalizes abortion

The Colombian Constitutional Court has decriminalized abortion up to 24 weeks in another victory for the Green Wave sweeping through Latin America.  The historic decision follows years of campaigning by women's right's activists across Colombia and came off the back of two lawsuits that asked the court to declare article 122 of the penal code, that "the woman who causes her abortion or allows another to cause it, will incur a prison sentence from sixteen (16) to fifty-four (54) months" as unconstitutional. Having delayed several times over the past two years, the court called an extraordinary meeting on Monday 21st February 2022, and took just a few hours to come to its decision - ruling five against four to decriminalize the healthcare procedure. The decision will go into effect immediately. ProFamilia, IPPF's Member Association in Colombia, and Colombia's largest provider of legal abortion care was heavily involved in pushing to extend the rights of those needing to access abortion care. Colombia follows other countries in the region such as Mexico and Argentina, while parliamentarians in Ecuador last week eased regulations to allow access to abortion in cases of rape. Marta Royo, Executive Director for Profamilia, IPPF's Member Association in Colombia, said: "Today is a ground-breaking moment for the people of Colombia and a long-overdue guarantee of reproductive rights and dignity for all those who need abortion care, especially poor and rural women who bear the brunt of restrictive abortion policies. "The decriminalization of abortion up to 24 weeks in Colombia and the Green Wave movement across Latin America is centred not just on public health, but also the full lives, citizenship and human rights of girls, adolescents, and women – who, for multiple reasons, including inequity, access to education, gender-based violence and barriers to healthcare – continue to face unintended pregnancies. "The freedom for women to finally make their own choices about their pregnancies and their bodies is fundamental to disrupting the cycle of poverty that so many in Colombia face. This monumental decision is also a win for the dedicated health care providers, who will finally be recognized as people who simply care about the needs of others."  While Colombian women have supposedly been able to access abortion care since 2006 under three circumstances: if their life or health is at risk, in cases of fatal foetal abnormalities, or if the pregnancy is the by-product of rape or incest, in reality,  the criminalization of abortion persisted. The Guttmacher Institute found that less than one per cent of the estimated 400,000 abortions carried out each year in Colombia are performed legally, with women, especially poor, rural, vulnerable and marginalized women, facing significant barriers to accessing safe and timely abortion care. Many Colombian women are instead forced to carry their pregnancies to term or else seek other methods to end them. Figures collected by ProFamilia showed that during 2020, there were at least 26,223 unsafe abortions across Colombia, a startling amount for which consequences range from infection to life-changing injuries to death. As per the previous abortion law, other women have been imprisoned for up to four and a half years for having an abortion, even in cases where abortion should have been legal. In a shocking example of discrimination, data collected showed that poor rural women were more likely to be charged, with a third of those who faced charges also survivors of sexual violence. Eugenia Lopez Uribe, IPPF's Regional Director for Americas and the Caribbean Region, said: "Today Colombia took another step in the right direction for gender equality and full human rights for all, and we are incredibly proud of IPPF's Member Association, ProFamilia, for their tireless work alongside thousands of activists across Colombia and Latin America "This 24-week decriminalization is historic in the region and especially remarkable when we consider the current fragility of abortion rights globally and the anti-choice movements which continue to plague nations across the world, including in countries close to home like the United States of America. "While today we are celebrating this historic decision, the Green Wave is strong and growing, and the fight for reproductive rights and justice will not end until every person can access high-quality sexual and reproductive healthcare when and where they need it."    

Woman outside the Colombian constitutional with eyes closed holding a sign

Colombia decriminalizes abortion

Today, the Colombian Constitutional Court decriminalized abortion up to 24 weeks in another victory for the Green Wave sweeping through Latin America. The historic decision follows years of campaigning by women's right's activists across Colombia and came off the back of two lawsuits that asked the court to declare article 122 of the penal code, that "the woman who causes her abortion or allows another to cause it, will incur a prison sentence from sixteen (16) to fifty-four (54) months" as unconstitutional. The court called an extraordinary meeting today, Monday 21st February, and took just a few hours to come to its decision which will go into effect immediately. ProFamilia, the International Planned Federation's Member Association in Colombia, and Colombia's largest provider of legal abortion care were heavily involved in pushing to extend the rights of those needing to access abortion care. Marta Royo, Executive Director for Profamilia, IPPF's Member Association in Colombia, said: "Today is a ground-breaking moment for the people of Colombia and a long-overdue guarantee of reproductive rights and dignity for all those who need abortion care, especially poor and rural women who bear the brunt of restrictive abortion policies. "The decriminalization of abortion up to 24 weeks in Colombia and the Green Wave movement across Latin America is centred not just on public health, but also the full lives, citizenship and human rights of girls, adolescents, and women – who, for multiple reasons, including inequity, access to education, gender-based violence and barriers to healthcare – continue to face unintended pregnancies. "The freedom for women to finally make their own choices about their pregnancies and their bodies is fundamental to disrupting the cycle of poverty that so many in Colombia face. This monumental decision is also a win for the dedicated health care providers, who will finally be recognized as people who simply care about the needs of others."  While Colombian women have supposedly been able to access abortion care since 2006 under three circumstances: if their life or health is at risk, in cases of fatal foetal abnormalities, or if the pregnancy is the by-product of rape or incest, in reality,  the criminalization of abortion persisted. The Guttmacher Institute found that less than one per cent of the estimated 400,000 abortions carried out each year in Colombia are performed legally, with women, especially poor, rural, vulnerable and marginalized women, facing significant barriers to accessing safe and timely abortion care. Many Colombian women are instead forced to carry their pregnancies to term or else seek other methods to end them. Figures collected by ProFamilia showed that during 2020, there were at least 26,223 unsafe abortions across Colombia, a startling amount for which consequences range from infection to life-changing injuries to death. As per the previous abortion law, other women have been imprisoned for up to four and a half years for having an abortion, even in cases where abortion should have been legal. In a shocking example of discrimination, data collected showed that poor rural women were more likely to be charged, with a third of those who faced charges also survivors of sexual violence. Eugenia Lopez Uribe, IPPF's Regional Director for Americas and the Caribbean Region, said: "Today Colombia took another step in the right direction for gender equality and full human rights for all, and we are incredibly proud of IPPF's Member Association, ProFamilia, for their tireless work alongside thousands of activists across Colombia and Latin America "This 24-week decriminalization is historic in the region and especially remarkable when we consider the current fragility of abortion rights globally and the anti-choice movements which continue to plague nations across the world, including in countries close to home like the United States of America. "While today we are celebrating this historic decision, the Green Wave is strong and growing, and the fight for reproductive rights and justice will not end until every person can access high-quality sexual and reproductive healthcare when and where they need it." For media enquiries in English, please contact Karmen Ivey on [email protected] or [email protected]  For media enquiries in Spanish or during UK night-time hours, please contact Pamela Martin Garcia on [email protected]    

Woman waving a green flag in support of abortion care

Mexico’s Supreme Court votes to decriminalize abortion

The International Planned Parenthood Federation (IPPF) welcomes the unanimous decision taken by the Supreme Court of Mexico to decriminalize abortion. The decision is a step closer for women and pregnant people to fully exercise their reproductive rights and bodily autonomy through safe and legal abortion care.  Abortion is legal in four out of the 32 federal entities in Mexico. Only four other countries in the region - Argentina, Cuba, Uruguay, and Guyana have almost unrestricted and legal access to abortion care. Eugenia Lopez Uribe, IPPF’s Regional Director for the Americas and Caribbean said: “This historic ruling by the Supreme Court of Mexico is thanks to the feminist movement in Mexico and in the region, who have been relentless in their fight the law to recognize the dignity and humanity of people seeking abortion care. This decision will continue the Green Wave ripple effect across the region - we look at Argentina last year and now Mexico, these movements give us hope and motivation to continue to fight for sexual and reproductive health and rights for all.” Esperanza Delgado, Strategic Director for Advocacy and Interinstitutional Relations of MEXFAM added: “September 7 will become a memorable date in Mexico. In a progressive pronouncement in favour of reproductive autonomy, respect for the secular State, and the rights of women and pregnant people over those of the embryo, Mexico's highest legal authority indicated that it is unconstitutional to punish those who decide to terminate a pregnancy at its early stage.   “All of us who have joined forces and who are fortunate enough to fight for the recognition of human rights, should be proud and may our achievement inspire others in every corner of the planet. MEXFAM is committed to making this long-awaited legislation a reality for every person that decides to choose.” For media inquiries please contact [email protected] 

The American flag with stars and stripes

Statement on the first anniversary of the rescindment of the Global Gag Rule

28 January 2022 heralds one year since President Biden rescinded the harmful Global Gag Rule (GGR). Otherwise known as the Mexico City Policy, its expansion in 2017 under Trump affected 12 billion dollars of funding, impacting thousands of life-saving healthcare services worldwide – especially across low-income countries. But while rescindment is a positive first step, the long-term harm of the Global Gag Rule lingers on. For IPPF, 53 healthcare projects in 32 countries were hit, with some Member Associations losing up to 60% of their funding. Programmes affected include HIV prevention and care, maternal health and nutrition, STI services, gender-based violence prevention, and services for vulnerable children. And although we have begun to re-establish long-standing partnerships, it takes time for funding to flow and to re-open closed healthcare clinics and community services – with some lost forever. In the meantime, there are women and girls who desperately need healthcare that have nowhere to turn. But in February, the US Congress has an opportunity to change the sexual and reproductive health landscape forever through a final negotiated funding bill that includes a permanent end to the deadly Global Gag Rule. As we celebrate one year of rescindment, we know the work is not done yet, but we are hopeful for the futures of millions of women and girls worldwide. We urge the US Congress to permanently repeal the Global Gag Rule to fully eradicate the lasting impact of the Mexico City Policy that has harmed women and girls around the world for 40 years.   Dr Alvaro Bermejo, Director-General of the International Planned Parenthood Federation, said: "Five years ago, Trump expanded the Global Gag Rule, a devastating neo-colonialist policy that forbids US aid to any organization that supports access to safe abortion care, disproportionately affecting women and girls in low-income countries. Today we mark one year since President Biden rescinded it, but the long-term harm and impacts don't simply go away.  "The Gag Rule is a callously designed mechanism set up to deny women and girls the right to decide what happens to their bodies. Its implementation doesn't just destroy life-saving abortion services but erodes access to other sexual and reproductive healthcare, including contraception, leading ultimately to increases in unintended pregnancy and forcing many to turn to unsafe and dangerous abortion methods.   "While rescindment is a positive first step, the looming threat of reinstatement under future anti-rights administrations undermines the sustainability of global sexual health programs and the pace of progress. After 40 long years, the time to act is now – we urge the US Congress to end this political game and stand up for the futures of millions of at-risk women and girls by permanently repealing the Global Gag Rule.  "By leaving a legacy that gives hope and stability to the sexual and reproductive health of people worldwide, the US will once again be a champion, leader, and innovator of human rights for all." For media inquiries please contact [email protected] 

Abortion rights protestor with green scarf over her face
23 November 2021

Will Colombia seize this opportunity to decriminalize abortion?

The Colombian Constitutional Court has a historical opportunity in its hands as it decides on whether or not to completely remove the crime of abortion from the penal code, making it a public health matter. Unlike many others in Colombia, I grew up in a home where I wanted for nothing. A fortunate child in a country where meeting basic needs continues to be a matter of privilege, the reflection of an unequal society mired by the infinite cycle of poverty. I grew up amid discussions of politics and human rights in a safe environment where I was encouraged to formulate my own thoughts. Yet even for me, like so many Colombian women and girls, speaking openly about sex and sexuality was strictly forbidden. Despite this, Colombia remains a society that sees motherhood as the only achievable goal in a woman's life. A paradox that is difficult to understand. From a young age, girls face the power of stereotypes and gender roles, coming to understand them as superior to anything else and realizing that when it comes to reproductive autonomy, there is no space to think, express opinions, and much less act. Since 2006, Colombian women have supposedly been able to access abortion care under three circumstances: if their life or health is at risk, in cases of fatal foetal abnormalities, or if the pregnancy is the by-product of rape or incest. Yet in spite of these laws, the criminalization of abortion persists. The Guttmacher Institute found that less than one per cent of the estimated 400,000 abortions carried out each year in Colombia are performed legally, with women, especially poor, rural, vulnerable and marginalized women, facing significant barriers to accessing safe and timely abortion care. Many women are forced to carry their pregnancies to term or else seek other methods to end them. Figures collected by ProFamilia, IPPF's Member Association and the largest provider of legal abortions in Colombia, showed that during 2020, there were at least 26,223 unsafe abortions across Colombia, a startling amount for which consequences range from infection to life-changing injuries to death. Other women have been imprisoned for up to four and a half years for having an abortion, even in cases where abortion should have been legal. In a sickening twist of events, charges actually increased by 320% from 2005 to 2008, with around 400 women prosecuted for procuring an abortion each year. Perhaps the most saddening example of discrimination is that most women charged were poor rural women, and a third, survivors of sexual violence. The decriminalization of abortion and the Green Wave movement is centred on public health, human rights, and the full citizenship and lives of girls, adolescents, and women – who, for multiple reasons, including gender-based violence, inequity, lack of education and barriers to healthcare – continue to face unintended pregnancies. And for whom the freedom to make choices about their pregnancies and their bodies will reduce adolescent and unintended pregnancy, reduce gender-based violence and help break the cycle of poverty that so many in Colombia face.   For the dedicated health care providers, who also bear the burden of criminalization and stigma, decriminalization is an opportunity to make reproductive healthcare an integral part of physical, mental and social well-being. And a chance for abortion care providers to finally be recognized as people who simply care about the needs of others.   So after a long, rigorous and objective process of data, figures, findings and stories, Colombia is on the cusp of change. To achieve total decriminalization would be groundbreaking, a decision that would change the course of Colombia and Latin America forever. Especially in the face of terrifying anti-choice movements which continue to plague nations across the globe, removing long-held rights from citizens, as we have seen in Texas and Poland. The magistrates should not be afraid of making the right decision. From Uruguay to Argentina, Mexico, and now Colombia, I am hopeful that my country will join the right side of history. Originally published by Thomson Reuters Foundation News

A positive pregnancy test
27 September 2021

My abortion journey

Ada's abortion journeyTake a journey with Ada to discover her story. Like many people, she has just found out that she is pregnant, but she cannot afford to raise another child. She has decided to have an abortion. What will her options be, and what will she choose? Take a couple of minutes today to share her journey – click "Start" to begin...Your name is Ada. You've found out you are pregnant, but you cannot afford to raise another child. You have decided to have an abortion.What do you do?On the internet, you discover safe2choose.org and read on their website about available abortion care in your country and about others who have also had an abortion. You also find a toll-free number for an IPPF member association in your country that offers abortion information and support.You decide to:You call your friend Maryam, who explains to you that she knows many women who have had one or more abortions. She tells you that she herself has had two. She gives you advice about how to find information online, and also about the clinic where she had her abortions. You decide to:You speak to a safe2choose counsellor by live chat, and she offers confidential and non-judgmental counselling in your language, free of charge.You learn that there are two types of abortion available to you:• An in-clinic procedure called a manual vacuum aspiration (MVA), which includes the use of a suction device to remove the pregnancy. This option is typically offered up to 13 weeks of gestation and takes about 10-15 minutes.• A medical abortion, which involves taking pills to induce an abortion. This option is typically offered up to 12 to 13 weeks' gestation and can be managed in clinic or at home.You decide to:You speak to an IPPF member service provider, who offers you confidential and non-judgmental counselling about your options. They explain the two types of abortion available to you, which the safe2choose counsellors had also explained – medical abortion with pills and manual vacuum aspiration (MVA).You decide to:They explain two types of abortion available to you:• An in-clinic procedure called a manual vacuum aspiration (MVA), which includes the use of a suction device to remove the pregnancy. This option is typically offered up to 13 weeks of gestation and takes about 10-15 minutes.• A medical abortion, which involves taking pills to induce an abortion. This option is typically offered up to 12 to 13 weeks' gestation and can be managed in clinic or at home.You decide to:On the internet, you discover safe2choose.org and read on their website about available abortion care in your country and about others who have also had an abortion. You speak to one of their counsellors by live chat, and she offers confidential and non-judgmental counselling in your language, free of charge.You learn that there are two types of abortion available to you:• An in-clinic procedure called a manual vacuum aspiration (MVA), which includes the use of a suction device to remove the pregnancy. This option is typically offered up to 13 weeks of gestation and takes about 10-15 minutes.• A medical abortion, which involves taking pills to induce an abortion. This option is typically offered up to 13 weeks in-clinic or up to 12 weeks at home.You decide to:You've made the choice that best suits your needs and situation, and you've been supported to do so throughout the process. safe2choose.org and IPPF offer information, support and a range of options for person-centred and rights-based abortion care for everyone, regardless of their age, religion, nationality or social class. safe2choose's team of international counselors are here for support throughout the process at anytime. IPPF offers quality and non-judgmental abortion care through static clinics, community-based care, remote counseling, and support for self-managed medical abortion.For further information, please visit the following:• safe2choose's information on medical abortion and manual vacuum aspiration (MVA)• IPPF's short videos on medical abortion and manual vacuum aspiration (MVA)• Brands of medical abortion available at country level – safe2choose information and MedAb.orgYou visit a midwife at an IPPF member clinic who offers you confidential and non-judgmental counselling about your options.They explain two types of abortion available to you:• An in-clinic procedure called a manual vacuum aspiration (MVA), which includes the use of a suction device to remove the pregnancy. This option is typically offered up to 13 weeks of gestation and takes about 10-15 minutes.• A medical abortion, which involves taking pills to induce an abortion. This option is typically offered up to 12 to 13 weeks' gestation and can be managed in clinic or at home.You decide to:You've made the choice that best suits your needs and situation, and you've been supported to do so throughout the process.Abortions are very common and one of the safest medical procedures when done under the right conditions and with the right information. Everyone regardless of their age, religion, nationality or social class deserves access to a safe abortion. safe2choose.org and IPPF offer information, support and a range of options for person-centred and rights-based abortion care.safe2choose's team of international counsellors are here to support you throughout the process at anytime.You speak to an IPPF member service provider, who offers you confidential and non-judgmental counselling about your options.They explain two types of abortion available to you:• An in-clinic procedure called a manual vacuum aspiration (MVA), which includes the use of a suction device to remove the pregnancy. This option is typically offered up to 13 weeks of gestation and takes about 10-15 minutes.• A medical abortion, which involves taking pills to induce an abortion. This option is typically offered up to 12 to 13 weeks' gestation and can be managed in clinic or at home.You decide to: Also available in French, Spanish, and Portuguese