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Tackling abortion stigma

Tackling abortion stigma

Abortion stigma affects women and girls, abortion providers,

Abortion stigma affects women and girls, abortion providers, reproductive rights advocates and communities. Although abortion is a common experience around the world, it is still largely stigmatised. Negative attitudes and beliefs about abortion may act as barriers to accessing safe services and can make it difficult for people to talk about their experiences of abortion. This can be very isolating, and may force people to continue unwanted pregnancies or to seek unsafe abortion.

Since 2011 the David & Lucile Packard Foundation has supported IPPF to implement a range of initiatives to investigate and address abortion stigma. It is often young people who are most severely affected by abortion stigma, and who are most at risk of suffering health complications as a result of unsafe abortion.

Since 2014 IPPF has delivered the Youth and Abortion Stigma project, a project focused on challenging abortion stigma and supporting young people’s access to safe abortion services – working with communities, service providers, and young people, conducting research, supporting youth initiatives and developing a range of resources to achieve an better environment for young people’s right to safe abortion and other reproductive and sexual rights. This project has conducted targeted work with our Member Associations in Benin, Burkina Faso, Ghana, India, Nepal and Pakistan.

Implementing individual, community and clinic-based interventions in the countries where abortion stigma research was conducted. Abortion stigma was measured at the community level at the beginning and end of each phase of the project, by using an adaptation of the Stigmatizing Attitudes, Beliefs and Actions Scale (SABAS) developed by Ipas.

Find out more about this ground-breaking work in Reducing Abortion Stigma: Global Achievements since 2014.

Tools and resources

Through this project IPPF has created a range of tools and resources to support understanding of abortion stigma and to increase the capacity of our Member Associations to advocate for safe abortion, and to provide non-stigmatising education and information.

Strategies to improve young people’s access to stigma free services

IPPF recognizes the value of young people’s voices, perspectives and insights, as well as their keen understanding of which messages, media and resources will resonate with their peers. We have listened to young people and employed a range of strategies to ensure that our initiatives were genuinely led by youth.

Four of our Member Associations have shared their best practices to improve young people’s access to safe abortion services. These include strategies such as creating a ‘buddy system’ for young people accessing services, working with educational establishments, using social media, and youth friendly spaces.

Youth-led projects to tackle abortion stigma

As part of our work in tackling abortion stigma, this project has supported smaller ground-breaking youth-led projects in 14 different countries, in order to tackle the issue of abortion stigma in their communities.

These small grants have been awarded to projects in Albania, Colombia, Ghana, Guinea, Kenya, Macedonia, Nepal, Nigeria, Palestine, Puerto Rico, Sierra Leone, Spain, Tanzania and Venezuela.

The ‘Youth Against Abortion Stigma’ blog features entries written by young IPPF volunteers, youth grantees and project champions from around the world.

For further information on this project, contact [email protected].



Abortion Care