Call for Action

Global Day of Action for Access to Safe and Legal Abortion

Join us this September 28 and #BustTheMyths

Fight #AbortionStigma & Discrimination!

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Abortion – an action undertaken to effectively end a pregnancy – has existed since time immemorial and is a common experience during women’s[1] sexual and reproductive lives. Approximately 44 million pregnancies worldwide end in voluntary termination each year, occurring even in restrictive or illegal settings. [2] Globally, 1 in 3 women will have an abortion by the age of 45,[3] while trans-men, gender queer, gender-non-conforming individuals and others of diverse gender identity who can and do get pregnant will also need access to safe abortion over the course of their lives.

Surgical abortions done by trained providers in hygienic settings, and early medical abortions are extremely safe procedures ,[4] do not increase individuals’ risk of mental health problems,[5] and along with complete, accurate and unbiased counselling are an integral component of sexual and reproductive health services. Obstetrician-gynecologists (ob-gyns) and other healthcare providers have often been in the forefront in advocating for safe and legal abortion, disseminating information, raising awareness, and encouraging fellow service providers to support individuals’ access to safe, high-quality abortion care.[6]

Yet, abortion stigma continues to play a critical role in the social, medical, and legal marginalization of abortion care worldwide,[7] constituting one of the main obstacles towards the decriminalization, availability and accessibility of comprehensive abortion information, care and drugs.

The stigma surrounding abortion is complex and pervasive, both building on and perpetuating other forms of discrimination and structural injustices,[8] while also being produced, reproduced and reinforced at individual, community, institutional, cultural, and legal levels. Myths and misinformation surrounding abortion, such as abortion being a dangerous, “immoral,”  or regrettable act, largely stem from abortion-related stigma. In turn, these myths feed and perpetuate further stigma and discrimination, thus shaming and silencing individuals seeking abortion, individuals who have had an abortion, and healthcare providers in this line of work, while endangering the right to safe abortion or rendering it further inaccessible for those who need to access abortion care services.

Most importantly, the various and persistent myths surrounding abortion shroud what evidence-based studies and the vast majority of individuals’ stories[9] prove to be true: access to safe and legal abortion is a necessary social good, and a human right.

This September 28, the Global Day of Action for Access to Safe and Legal Abortion, WGNRR is calling on our members, partners and allies to #BustTheMyths surrounding abortion and fight #AbortionStigma and discrimination!

Join us in emphasizing the positive realities derived from access to safe and legal abortion, the beneficial changes at individual, communal, and societal levels that abortion access has brought about in countries worldwide, and the importance of abortion as an essential social good and a human right!

Diverse Actions, Different Places, One Demand:

Access to Safe & Legal Abortion NOW!

www.september28.org

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September 28 has been a regional campaign for the decriminalization of abortion in Latin America and the Caribbean for over twenty years before being taken on by SRHR activists all over the world in 2011. WGNRR undertakes September 28 annual campaigning activities in collaboration with its members, partners, and allies around the world, and as a member of the International Campaign for Women’s Right to Safe Abortion.

 

[1] While we use the term ‘woman/women’ we do so with a critical reflexivity that recognizes the nuances and right to people’s unique sexual and gender identities and expressions.  We also recognize that ‘women’ are not a monolithic group and that they have diverse identities that vary due to their social location and the socio-economic, political, and multicultural contexts in which their lives are embedded.

[2] Guttmacher Institute (2012), Facts on Induced Abortions Worldwide.

[3] Guttmacher Institute, Are You In the Know? Abortion Incidence.

[4]  Guttmacher Institute, Are You In the Know? Abortion Safety.

[5] Cohen, Susan A. (2013), Still True: Abortion Does Not Increase Women’s Risk of Mental Health Problems. Guttmacher Policy Review 16(2): 13-22.

[6] Gasman, N. et al (2006): Abortion, social inequity, and women’s health: Obstetrician-gynecologists as agents of change. International Journal of Gynecology and Obstetrics, 94 (3): 310-316.

[7]Inroads, What is Abortion Stigma, (For more information and to get involved in the eradication of abortion stigma, please visit www.endabortionstigma.org.)

[8] Kumar, Anuradha et al (2009), Conceptualizing Abortion Stigma, Culture, Health & Sexuality 11 (6): 625–639.

[9] Recent research from the University of California on women seeking abortions showed that of women who were able to obtain an abortion, 90% reported that they were relieved. Even when women who had an abortion felt primarily negative emotions afterwards, like regret and sadness, more than 80 percent still said that it was the right choice. Guttmacher Institute (2013), One Week Later: Women Denied an Abortion Feel More Regret and Less Relief Than Those Who Have One.