Nicaragua: We demand the restitution of therapeutic abortion
Movement for safe legal abortion goes global
Ipas had a very successful Sept 28 campaign this year. We created this photo story which we shared throughout the month on social media and via Facebook promotion during the week of September 28. It provides a sampling of our work around the world supporting safe abortion. We shared graphics, videos, publications and web stories that highlight how criminalizing abortion hurts women, families and communities. (You can also find many of these resources on Our Abortion Is Not a Crime webpage.)
“We want all women in the Federal District to know they have the right to
a safe, legal abortion free of charge during the first trimester of pregnancy
through the public health system." Ipas Mexico
Leila Hessini also wrote a blog entitled "Destigmatizing and decriminalizing abortion: that’s our collective work" was published on Rewire, 28 September
Finally, we partnered with IPPF on a guest blog series published on our Tumblr page. The bloggers were youth based in Latin America and the Caribbean discussing the importance of access for youth to safe, legal abortion.
Asia Safe Abortion Partnership (ASAP) and ASAP Youth Champions
ASAP launched a month-long film festival celebrating Sept 28th. The overall objective was to create awareness around the issue of abortion access and stigma in general and to give space to voices of youth from Asia in particular. The intention was also to increase the visibility and encourage dialogue on women’s bodily autonomy and rights. PROMOTION VIDEO
During the film festival we launched a video series entitled Conversations about Abortions from Asia. In these videos our Youth Champions talk about the situation of law and abortion access in their countries and share their experiences about working to challenge the stigma and barriers to safe abortion access women face.
YouthCANN Youth Champions Advocacy Network Nepal conducted a Flashmob along with Bhaktapur Youth Information Forum demanding universal access to comprehensive sexual and reproductive health services, including safe abortion, that respects their rights to privacy and confidentiality and are easily accessible, elimination of violence, coercion and discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity.
YANSL – Youth Advocacy Network Sri Lanka conducted an online campaign busting myths that surround abortion and also joined the #StepintoOurShoes Campaign calling upon women and girls to voice their struggles for reproductive justice. They invited quotes emphasizing the importance of safe abortion, stats in Sri Lanka, and real stories related to unsafe and illegal abortion.
Youth Champion Advocacy Network Nepal (Youth CANN) also participated in the candle light ceremony organized on the special occasion of the international day of action on safe abortion#sept28, remembering all those who lost their lives due to unsafe abortion. #solidarity
In India, Dr Souvik Pyne organized a small event at the Indian Institute of Public Health, Bhubaneswar, Public Health Foundation of India about the public health importance of safe abortion, and aimed to spread awareness about issues pertaining to safe abortion. The event included a briefing session, a public awareness drive, a film screening and discussions, a power walk and shoe-thon.
Asia Safe Abortion Partnership and National Forum for Women partnered with the National Forum for Women with Disabilities to conduct the first of its kind workshop on Sexual and Reproductive Health Rights for women with disabilities in Pakistan.
A public forum where the Bureau of Reproductive Health talked about the importance of making abortion safe
We organised a meeting in which 20 rural participants were present. They took part in the discussion on the importance of the day, dissemination of the hotline number, and displayed their shoes as part of the #StepIntoOurShoes events.
PINSAN produced two videos for the September 28 campaign:
Step into Our Shoes (Joy) and Step into Our Shoes (Anne)
PINSAN also held a public event at the Jose Fabella Hospital, which was attended by around 170 participants, including PINSAN members, community leaders, hospital officers, staff and patients. It was the first ever government hospital co-sponsored September 28 event in Manila. During the event, PINSAN presented stories of women who have had an abortion and also had an art installation "Pinagdaanan" (Journey in solidarity) with the global call "Step Into Our Shoes." The Fabella Hospital is the primary government-run maternal health hospital; the hospital also has a post-abortion care unit, which is rare in the country.
After the event, PINSAN members headed to Quiapo Church in Manila to do a flash mobilization. In front of the church, where anti-abortion posters were plastered on the walls, several advocates held up placards that asked: "Where is mercy and compassion if abortion is not legal?"
Community Health Rights Network (COHERINET)
Let’s talk about it: “Breaking the silence on abortion stigma among school-going young people”
Marking International Safe Abortion Day, COHERINET held a discussion with 250 young people, five teachers and representatives from the Network’s secretariat in the suburbs of Wakiso district.
The discussion highlighted the essence of the day, challenges faced by young people with unwanted pregnancies, causes of unwanted pregnancies, what they know about safe and unsafe abortions and how and where unsafe abortions are carried out.
Opening the discussion about abortion was not easy as even the teachers felt shy to talk about issues of abortion in the presence of the students. However, we later realized that this was due to the restrictive policies in the schools and the compounding factors of stigma, discrimination and controversy over abortion rights.
Students gave testimonies of unsafe abortions from their friends that had led to two deaths. The teachers and students informed us that unsafe abortions are increasing year after year with serious consequences, which are not reported due to fear of imprisonment.
“We are very much concerned about the increasing number of unsafe abortions performed in different localities and schools which we can’t talk about openly due fear of losing our schools and jobs, we hope you understand why,” one of the teachers told us.
Jacqueline, a senior five student, testified that her deceased friend Joan tried to abort using Omo mixed with tea leaves after her stepmother realized that she was pregnant and sent her away from home. She told us that Joan “used to spend the whole day loitering in town looking for something to eat and at night would sneak back to the goats’ pen to sleep”. After three weeks; she was found dead in the morning with lots blood around.
“Unless the Ugandan government adopts a codified law concerning access to safe and legal abortion, many young people will continue dying as many of them begin having sex but have never had sex education, which is leading to unwanted pregnancies,” explained Nakate Joseline (school senior woman). Monthly pregnancy check-ups by schools are avoided by many students due to fear as anyone found pregnant is always sent home.
We should join hands to combat the silent killer unsafe abortion.
Development Charity Association (DECA)
DECA is an NGO that works in Uganda. We organized some activities for September 28, 2016. The issues we raised on the day were new in the ears of some of the participants and some of them didn't want us to take photos of them. Our objective was to make sure our messages were received. Even though it gave some participants an earache, the day was celebrated, and there was certainly interest. Participants wanted to see a sample of the medical abortion pills in question and we explained how they worked, and in brief we gave information on the use of medical abortion.
The population was not informed about medical abortion, so we decided we should hold two sessions about it, to ensure that the messages were understood. And we will continue to try to increase public awareness and to give information even door to door. Our first targets will be students in the city centre, because the day was celebrated in a small village called Kayunga where people were already familiar with our work.
DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF CONGO (DRC)
SOS Femme Enfant
We celebrated the 28th September 2016 in the DRC. We did so led by our Ugandan sister organization, the Development Charity Association (DECA), which has the same aims and objectives as SOS Femme Enfant in the DRC.
EASTERN EUROPE ARMENIA : A CORRECTION
In the 4 October 2016 newsletter with 28 Sept reports, under Armenia/Women's Rights Center, we published their report of a meeting for 28 September with women victims of domestic violence, Women’s Rights Center staff and volunteers.
However, we should have attributed the following text to the Women's Resource Center in Armenia:
Women's Resource Center, Armenia
There have been changes to the abortion law introduced by the Armenian Government without any consultation with civil society, medical or women’s groups. Abortion remains accessible until the 12th week but Article 10 of the Law on Reproductive Health and Rights was amended to ban sex-selective abortion after the first trimester. A mandatory three-day waiting period was also added supposedly to allow gynaecologists time to provide counselling, which was made mandatory.
According to someone in the Armenian Ministry of Health, the Ministry aims to make it more difficult for women to have an abortions through imposing this delay. Yet the Ministry claims these amendments do not question the right and access to legal abortion. In a statementon these changes, the Women's Resource Center explains why they are restrictive in intent and practice.
A BLOG AND SOME ARTICLES
IPPF Europe had an article published on the 28th inEuractiv, written by Regional Director, Caroline Hickson, about the importance of bodily autonomy and sticking up for women’s reproductive rights across Europe, focusing specifically on Ireland and Poland.