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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

Tips on how to educate about abortion - video thumbnail
12 June 2017

Watch: Tips on how to educate about abortion

This short video provides useful tips to people who want to educate others about abortion, including ideas on how to create a safe and respectful space for discussion, how to present facts and how to make your session practical. Read our guide for more information:     Voir cette vidéo en français   Ver el video en español    Using these resources? Let us know how!

Why we will not sign the Global Gag Rule

Why we will not sign the Global Gag Rule

On 23 January 2017 President Trump signed an executive order reinstating the Global Gag Rule, or the Mexico City Policy.  The International Planned Parenthood Federation (IPPF) believes in the right of every individual to decide about their own health and well-being.  As an organisation that seeks to protect and improve the lives of women, men and children around the world, IPPF and its partners in 170 countries will not sign a policy that denies human rights and puts the lives of women at risk.   The Global Gag Rule denies U.S. funding to organisations like IPPF if they use money from other donors to provide abortion services, counselling or referrals—even if abortion is legal in a country. It blocks critical funding for health services like contraception, maternal health, and HIV/AIDS prevention and treatment for any organisation that refuses to sign it. When it has been enacted by previous Republican Presidents, evidence has shown that the Global Gag Rule has not reduced the number of abortions; rather, by eliminating access to contraception, it has led to more unintended pregnancies and more unsafe abortions.     IPPF is the largest non-governmental provider of contraception in the world. It has worked with the U.S. government for decades. Our global network of local partners delivers more than 300 services every minute of every day, including 70 million contraceptive services every year.  The Global Gag Rule’s reinstatement will result in additional unintended pregnancies and countless other needless injuries and deaths. It means IPPF will lose $100 million USD for proven programs that provide comprehensive sexual and reproductive health services for millions of women and youth who otherwise go without these vital services, including women suffering the burden of health and humanitarian crises.  Over the years USAID has been a huge supporter of family planning – with a budget of over $600 million per year. Reinstatement will mean that years of progress to increase access to essential services globally, will be lost. We cannot—and will not—deny life-saving services to the world’s poorest women.  We will work with governments and donors to bridge the funding and service gaps the Global Gag Rule creates. We will ensure that women can exercise their rights and access safe abortion and family planning.  WANT TO GET INVOLVED? SUPPORT OUR WORK WITH A DONATION     Subscribe to our updates!

Protest sign reads "keep abortion legal"

Statement on the US Supreme Court's draft opinion on Roe v Wade

On the US Supreme Court's draft opinion on Roe v Wade, Dr Alvaro Bermejo, Director-General for IPPF, said: "If the reports are true, then the highest court in the land has reached its lowest point. If they continue down the road of overturning Roe v Wade, they will rob millions of people of their liberty, bodily autonomy, and their freedom – the very values the United States prides itself on. "This decision will also embolden other Conservative extremist movements around the world, looking to deny women their reproductive freedom. Make no mistake, this ruling will cost millions of lives for years to come. "The Supreme Court still has time to do the right thing and uphold Roe v Wade. IPPF will do all it can to ensure people can safely end their pregnancy."  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 over 65 years, IPPF through its 118 Member Associations and 15 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. Main image: Abortion rights protest in Washington DC, US – photo by Gayatri Malhotra, Unsplash

「中絶を受けた人を愛しています」と書かれたプラカードを掲げる人
04 May 2022

What is Roe v. Wade? And other questions answered

What is Roe v. Wade?  Roe v. Wade is a landmark Supreme Court decision from 1973 which effectively legalized abortion across all US states.  The case focused on a woman named anonymously at the time as Texan resident Jane Roe, in her case against Henry Wade, District Attorney of Dallas County, Texas. Roe sought an abortion after discovering she was pregnant – however Texan law denied her one because it stated that an abortion would only be permitted if it would save the life of the pregnant person.  Roe’s lawyers argued that she was unable to travel out of the state to obtain an abortion, and that the law – which was vague in its wording – infringed on her constitutional rights. Their case was successfully argued, with Supreme Court judges voting 7-2 in favour of Roe. This set a precedent which effectively legalized abortion in the first trimester of pregnancy nationwide, and protected a pregnant person’s liberty to choose to have an abortion without excessive government restriction. However, in 1992, the Supreme Court revisited and modified Roe v. Wade's rulings in the case of Planned Parenthood v. Casey. This ruling reaffirmed that a woman’s right to choose to have an abortion is constitutionally protected, but scrapped the first trimester standard in favor of a vaguer one based on "fetal viability".  Why is it in the news now? The legalization of abortion in the US has seen numerous challenges over the years since Roe v. Wade, including in the case of Planned Parenthood v. Casey, both of which are federal laws. At the state level, there has been a devastating rollback of abortion access including in Texas, Georgia, and Louisiana. Other states have sought to protect abortion rights without relying on Roe v. Wade, such as Maryland, Connecticut, and California.  The most significant pending case right now is that of Dobbs v. Jackson Women's Health Organization, a 2018 ruling which banned abortion in Mississippi after 15 weeks of pregnancy. This decision is currently being challenged for not being constitutional.  At this moment, Jackson Women’s Health Organization is the only licensed abortion clinic in Mississippi, and if the Supreme Court does not rule in their favour, it will essentially overturn Roe v Wade. 26 states are poised to enact “trigger laws” that will severely limit or ban all together abortion within that state. This would mean that over 36 million people of reproductive age risk losing abortion access, with low income people and people of color most affected.  The final ruling for Dobbs v. Jackson Women's Health Organization is expected in late June or early July 2022. However, on 3 May a leaked draft opinion by Justice Samuel Alito (one of the Supreme Court judges who will vote on this case) suggested that Roe v. Wade will be overturned, a decision which will remove federal constitutional protection for abortion and allow states to decide the legality of abortion within their jurisdiction, which will lead to bans or severe restrictions on legal abortion in states across the US. (Learn more about state laws on abortion.) While this is a deeply concerning development for reproductive freedom, this remains an opinion, not law. At the time of writing, no decision on Dobbs v. Jackson Women's Health Organization has been made, and abortion is still legal in the US. (You can find your local provider here and information about safe at-home medical abortion here).   If Roe v. Wade is overturned, what impact would this have?  We know for a fact that banning abortion does not mean fewer abortions. People who need abortions will find a way and many will be forced to turn to unsafe and unrelated methods that could result in serious harm and even death. Overturning Roe v. Wade would deny women and girls of their liberty, bodily autonomy, and freedom – values that the United States prides itself on – and this decision will harm millions of people for decades to come.  While Roe v. Wade applies to the US, the fallout of its overturning would reverberate around the world. It will embolden other anti-woman and anti-reproductive freedom movements globally to force women and girls through unwanted pregnancies. Therefore, it is crucial for us all, not only the US, that Roe v. Wade remains protected.  What can be done to stop it from being overturned? There is still time for the Supreme Court to make the right decision – one rooted in dignity, liberty, and freedom for all of its citizens seeking safe and legal abortion care. We urge all Supreme Court judges to vote in favour of Jackson Women’s Health Organization, and keep abortion legal, safe, and accessible.  You can play a role by donating to local abortion funds in the US. You can also donate to the Planned Parenthood Federation of America, who are working to make sure the voice of the American people – the majority of whom support Roe v. Wade – is heard, and are keeping health centers open to continue to provide lifesaving care.  IPPF will do all it can to ensure women will not be forced through a pregnancy against their will/consent. Follow us on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook for further updates, and donate to us if you are able to. Can't donate right now? Learn more about the coalition of sexual and reproductive health and rights organizations in the US, and make sure this critical human rights issue doesn’t get forgotten by safely taking part in protests near you, and by talking to your friends, family and other networks about it, both in person and online. Your support is needed now more than ever.    Main image: Abortion rights protest in Washington DC, US – photo by Gayatri Malhotra, Unsplash

A healthcare worker with a client

IMAP Statement Abortion Self-Care

IPPF understands abortion self-care as the right of women and girls to lead, in part or entirely, their abortion process, with or without support from health providers. Guided by the existing evidence and practices, this statement provides practical recommendations for IPPF Member Associations and other sexual and reproductive health stakeholders on how to manage abortion care within a people-centred model which empowers individuals and is supported by community collectives and social networks, however still backed-up by the healthcare system whenever needed or required. This statement also serves as an advocacy tool to create an enabling environment for abortion self-care.   Download in English, French, and Spanish below. 

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."    

Tips on how to educate about abortion - video thumbnail
12 June 2017

Watch: Tips on how to educate about abortion

This short video provides useful tips to people who want to educate others about abortion, including ideas on how to create a safe and respectful space for discussion, how to present facts and how to make your session practical. Read our guide for more information:     Voir cette vidéo en français   Ver el video en español    Using these resources? Let us know how!

Why we will not sign the Global Gag Rule

Why we will not sign the Global Gag Rule

On 23 January 2017 President Trump signed an executive order reinstating the Global Gag Rule, or the Mexico City Policy.  The International Planned Parenthood Federation (IPPF) believes in the right of every individual to decide about their own health and well-being.  As an organisation that seeks to protect and improve the lives of women, men and children around the world, IPPF and its partners in 170 countries will not sign a policy that denies human rights and puts the lives of women at risk.   The Global Gag Rule denies U.S. funding to organisations like IPPF if they use money from other donors to provide abortion services, counselling or referrals—even if abortion is legal in a country. It blocks critical funding for health services like contraception, maternal health, and HIV/AIDS prevention and treatment for any organisation that refuses to sign it. When it has been enacted by previous Republican Presidents, evidence has shown that the Global Gag Rule has not reduced the number of abortions; rather, by eliminating access to contraception, it has led to more unintended pregnancies and more unsafe abortions.     IPPF is the largest non-governmental provider of contraception in the world. It has worked with the U.S. government for decades. Our global network of local partners delivers more than 300 services every minute of every day, including 70 million contraceptive services every year.  The Global Gag Rule’s reinstatement will result in additional unintended pregnancies and countless other needless injuries and deaths. It means IPPF will lose $100 million USD for proven programs that provide comprehensive sexual and reproductive health services for millions of women and youth who otherwise go without these vital services, including women suffering the burden of health and humanitarian crises.  Over the years USAID has been a huge supporter of family planning – with a budget of over $600 million per year. Reinstatement will mean that years of progress to increase access to essential services globally, will be lost. We cannot—and will not—deny life-saving services to the world’s poorest women.  We will work with governments and donors to bridge the funding and service gaps the Global Gag Rule creates. We will ensure that women can exercise their rights and access safe abortion and family planning.  WANT TO GET INVOLVED? SUPPORT OUR WORK WITH A DONATION     Subscribe to our updates!

Protest sign reads "keep abortion legal"

Statement on the US Supreme Court's draft opinion on Roe v Wade

On the US Supreme Court's draft opinion on Roe v Wade, Dr Alvaro Bermejo, Director-General for IPPF, said: "If the reports are true, then the highest court in the land has reached its lowest point. If they continue down the road of overturning Roe v Wade, they will rob millions of people of their liberty, bodily autonomy, and their freedom – the very values the United States prides itself on. "This decision will also embolden other Conservative extremist movements around the world, looking to deny women their reproductive freedom. Make no mistake, this ruling will cost millions of lives for years to come. "The Supreme Court still has time to do the right thing and uphold Roe v Wade. IPPF will do all it can to ensure people can safely end their pregnancy."  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 over 65 years, IPPF through its 118 Member Associations and 15 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. Main image: Abortion rights protest in Washington DC, US – photo by Gayatri Malhotra, Unsplash

「中絶を受けた人を愛しています」と書かれたプラカードを掲げる人
04 May 2022

What is Roe v. Wade? And other questions answered

What is Roe v. Wade?  Roe v. Wade is a landmark Supreme Court decision from 1973 which effectively legalized abortion across all US states.  The case focused on a woman named anonymously at the time as Texan resident Jane Roe, in her case against Henry Wade, District Attorney of Dallas County, Texas. Roe sought an abortion after discovering she was pregnant – however Texan law denied her one because it stated that an abortion would only be permitted if it would save the life of the pregnant person.  Roe’s lawyers argued that she was unable to travel out of the state to obtain an abortion, and that the law – which was vague in its wording – infringed on her constitutional rights. Their case was successfully argued, with Supreme Court judges voting 7-2 in favour of Roe. This set a precedent which effectively legalized abortion in the first trimester of pregnancy nationwide, and protected a pregnant person’s liberty to choose to have an abortion without excessive government restriction. However, in 1992, the Supreme Court revisited and modified Roe v. Wade's rulings in the case of Planned Parenthood v. Casey. This ruling reaffirmed that a woman’s right to choose to have an abortion is constitutionally protected, but scrapped the first trimester standard in favor of a vaguer one based on "fetal viability".  Why is it in the news now? The legalization of abortion in the US has seen numerous challenges over the years since Roe v. Wade, including in the case of Planned Parenthood v. Casey, both of which are federal laws. At the state level, there has been a devastating rollback of abortion access including in Texas, Georgia, and Louisiana. Other states have sought to protect abortion rights without relying on Roe v. Wade, such as Maryland, Connecticut, and California.  The most significant pending case right now is that of Dobbs v. Jackson Women's Health Organization, a 2018 ruling which banned abortion in Mississippi after 15 weeks of pregnancy. This decision is currently being challenged for not being constitutional.  At this moment, Jackson Women’s Health Organization is the only licensed abortion clinic in Mississippi, and if the Supreme Court does not rule in their favour, it will essentially overturn Roe v Wade. 26 states are poised to enact “trigger laws” that will severely limit or ban all together abortion within that state. This would mean that over 36 million people of reproductive age risk losing abortion access, with low income people and people of color most affected.  The final ruling for Dobbs v. Jackson Women's Health Organization is expected in late June or early July 2022. However, on 3 May a leaked draft opinion by Justice Samuel Alito (one of the Supreme Court judges who will vote on this case) suggested that Roe v. Wade will be overturned, a decision which will remove federal constitutional protection for abortion and allow states to decide the legality of abortion within their jurisdiction, which will lead to bans or severe restrictions on legal abortion in states across the US. (Learn more about state laws on abortion.) While this is a deeply concerning development for reproductive freedom, this remains an opinion, not law. At the time of writing, no decision on Dobbs v. Jackson Women's Health Organization has been made, and abortion is still legal in the US. (You can find your local provider here and information about safe at-home medical abortion here).   If Roe v. Wade is overturned, what impact would this have?  We know for a fact that banning abortion does not mean fewer abortions. People who need abortions will find a way and many will be forced to turn to unsafe and unrelated methods that could result in serious harm and even death. Overturning Roe v. Wade would deny women and girls of their liberty, bodily autonomy, and freedom – values that the United States prides itself on – and this decision will harm millions of people for decades to come.  While Roe v. Wade applies to the US, the fallout of its overturning would reverberate around the world. It will embolden other anti-woman and anti-reproductive freedom movements globally to force women and girls through unwanted pregnancies. Therefore, it is crucial for us all, not only the US, that Roe v. Wade remains protected.  What can be done to stop it from being overturned? There is still time for the Supreme Court to make the right decision – one rooted in dignity, liberty, and freedom for all of its citizens seeking safe and legal abortion care. We urge all Supreme Court judges to vote in favour of Jackson Women’s Health Organization, and keep abortion legal, safe, and accessible.  You can play a role by donating to local abortion funds in the US. You can also donate to the Planned Parenthood Federation of America, who are working to make sure the voice of the American people – the majority of whom support Roe v. Wade – is heard, and are keeping health centers open to continue to provide lifesaving care.  IPPF will do all it can to ensure women will not be forced through a pregnancy against their will/consent. Follow us on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook for further updates, and donate to us if you are able to. Can't donate right now? Learn more about the coalition of sexual and reproductive health and rights organizations in the US, and make sure this critical human rights issue doesn’t get forgotten by safely taking part in protests near you, and by talking to your friends, family and other networks about it, both in person and online. Your support is needed now more than ever.    Main image: Abortion rights protest in Washington DC, US – photo by Gayatri Malhotra, Unsplash

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IMAP Statement Abortion Self-Care

IPPF understands abortion self-care as the right of women and girls to lead, in part or entirely, their abortion process, with or without support from health providers. Guided by the existing evidence and practices, this statement provides practical recommendations for IPPF Member Associations and other sexual and reproductive health stakeholders on how to manage abortion care within a people-centred model which empowers individuals and is supported by community collectives and social networks, however still backed-up by the healthcare system whenever needed or required. This statement also serves as an advocacy tool to create an enabling environment for abortion self-care.   Download in English, French, and Spanish below. 

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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”

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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]  

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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."