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Unstoppable Movement: Movement building, solidarity, and justice for the right to safe abortion

Our movement is an unstoppable force driven with resistance, persistence, and determination to fight for access to safe abortion for all women, girls, and gender-diverse people. Every day, and in every corner of the world, committed local activists are leading efforts to provide access to safe abortion in their communities. We fight for our human right to bodily autonomy against oppressive and unresponsive policies with strategic litigation. We show up in solidarity with people in need of safe abortion access by building networks of support and accompaniment across borders and communities. We organize, campaign, and mobilize support for abortion rights in our states and countries. We identify, address, and challenge stigmatizing abortion narratives to ensure that abortion care becomes and remains an accessible human right in our societies. We rise above adversity, navigating through the storm of opposition and anti-choice agenda. We move forward every day in many ways. We adapt and evolve in the face of challenges, proving that regardless of any setbacks or attacks, we come out stronger, bolder, and more creative.

In the past 3 years alone, our collective actions have secured victories for gender equity, bodily autonomy,  reproductive justice and intersectionality around the world that include:

  • Increased decriminalization and expansion of access to abortion care in Argentina, Benin, Democratic Republic of Congo, Ecuador, India, Ireland, Nepal, Thailand, South Korea, and eight out of 32 states Mexico.
  • Improved access to abortion such in the cases of access to telemedicine services in Australia, England and parts of the United States.
  • High court decisions in Colombia and Kenya that declare and uphold the right to abortion.
  • Removal of burdensome barriers to access abortion in Germany, Finland, and Spain.
  • Creation of safe access buffer zones in Ireland, Spain, and parts of the United Kingdom.  
  • The legal protection of abortion rights in 18 states of the United States, after the anti-choice overturn of Roe v. Wade.
  • Human rights treaty bodies, conventions, and Courts declare that forced continuation of pregnancies and denial of access to abortion are violations of the rights to health and life. Such a decision has been passed in the case of Camila vs. the State of Peru. Soon, the Inter-American Court of Human Rights will publish their ruling over the case of Beatriz vs. El Salvador. Furthermore, international human rights bodies continue to recommend the decriminalization of abortion to many other states around the world.
  • Sierra Leone’s government has declared their commitment to support a bill that would expand access to safe abortions.

Progress is not linear, however, and if these wins teach us anything: we must work hard to protect and promote them, especially in the face of anti-choice ideologies’ relentless attacks on the fundamental right to safe abortion. 

Restrictions to access safe abortion care and outright criminalization of abortion are harming and even killing people, disproportionately affecting communities suffering multiple levels of oppression – those in poverty or situations of crisis, young people, and rural communities, among many more systematically discriminated groups. Stigma surrounding abortion further drives and exacerbates the challenges, causing fear, isolation, and discrimination for those seeking reproductive care, abortion care providers, and advocates. Anti-choice movements and stigmatizing misinformation campaigns attempt to undermine the right to safe abortion by spreading harmful narratives and obstructing efforts to expand access; they have even invaded decision-making spaces to lobby for regressions. These challenges remind us that ours is an ongoing struggle that is overcome through perseverance and feminist, cross-movement solidarity.

This #Sept28 – International Safe Abortion Day, let’s highlight that we are an #UnstoppableMovement, working in #AbortionSolidarity to achieve great milestones all the while resisting attacks against bodily autonomy and reproductive justice. This September 28, let us harness the power of stories of resistance and solidarity across borders and movements. We also focus on the power of collective action in demanding accountability from our governments and global institutions to uphold sexual and reproductive health, rights and justice.

Sub-theme: Young People’s Leadership in Abortion Justice

This year, we are also highlighting how young people are themselves a powerhouse of unstoppable forces, taking leadership in the movement. This September 28, we celebrate diverse young people and how they are fearlessly taking and creating spaces and employing innovative advocacy strategies to champion safe abortion rights and reproductive justice. They bring fresh perspectives, creative ideas, and a relentless drive for change. Their active engagement and valuable contributions are indispensable in advancing our shared objective. The leadership of young women, transpeople, non-binary, and gender-diverse peoplein the safe abortion rights movement is not just inspiring; it is essential. As such, we join them in calling for the support and empowerment of young leaders through equal access to opportunities, resources, and platforms.

This September 28 – International Safe Abortion Day reproductive justice activists call upon governments, funding bodies, and global institutions to…

  • Decriminalize abortion now! Abortion belongs under health policy, not the criminal code. No one should be imprisoned for having an abortion or providing a safe abortion to someone who needs it.
  • Expand access to safe abortions by removing all policy barriers to abortion care and management, expanding legal grounds, increasing upper time limits and removing third party approval.
  • Mobilize the resources to support and protect safe abortion access. Open funding to organizations and networks working on abortion justice and bodily autonomy.
  • Ensure access to and availability of post-abortion care, including on a community level by trained midwives and through community health facilities. Ensure the availability of manual vacuum aspiration for emergency cases.
  • Empower, support, and protect abortion care providers, doulas and acompañantes.
  • Implement comprehensive sexuality education (CSE) and youth-friendly abortion services with principles on consent, bodily autonomy, pleasure and human rights. Ensure that CSE curricula deliver evidence-based and rights-based information on abortion.
  • Include medical abortion pills on national essential medicines lists and ensure accessibility of medical abortion pills and management.
  • Implement and ensure access to abortion care through telehealth services and self-managed abortions.
  • Establish accessible and inclusive abortion care systems for all women, girls, transmen and all gender-diverse people who may need an abortion.
  • Stop the attacks on reproductive justice activists! Guarantee that they can carry out their work without fear, violations on their human rights, criminalization, and all forms of violence and harassment.

How are you taking action this September 28? Share your activities with us and let’s explore partnerships to bring your ideas to life. Get in touch with the September 28 Working Group and Campaign Partners. To receive a copy of the toolkit and other campaign materials, please email communications@wgnrr.org.