|Statement for International Safe Abortion Day 28 September 2021 :|
To the United Nations and all national governments
The past 16 months have seen both successes and setbacks in the right to safe abortion in the midst of the Covid-19 pandemic. There has been progressive abortion law reform, e.g. in Argentina, Ecuador, Mexico, South Australia, South Korea and Thailand, and there are many ongoing efforts to reform the law and improve access to abortion. The situation has gone from bad to worse in some countries, however, with restrictions by very right-wing governments, such as Poland and the US state of Texas.
The Covid-19 pandemic overwhelmed health services and has put the need for access to safe abortion into sharp relief. The risk of unsafe abortions has increased and reinforced the need for safe abortion to be provided as essential health care. The pandemic has restricted access to healthcare services in many places, including pregnancy and delivery care and contraceptives. Maternal deaths have risen substantially in some places, alongside violence against women. Progressive sexuality education, anything related to gender equality, human rights and even public health protection through vaccination are being demonised and condemned, without rhyme or reason.
National and local lockdowns, quarantine, travel bans and closed borders, while necessary for making people safe from Covid-19, have made access to health care of all kinds (both across borders and locally) even more difficult than usual. Access to abortion is time-dependent. Delayed access leads to unsafe abortions, creating a different burden of care for health systems.
Telemedicine has been endorsed as a means of providing for many critical health care needs and is being adapted and expanded rapidly during the pandemic. Pharmacies have become a vital access point for medications and advice. Self-managed abortion with pills is a safe, WHO-supported option up to 12 weeks of pregnancy for many women, and should remain so in the future. However, the alternative of clinic-based care for those unable to cope with it, at primary level whenever possible, must remain available as well.
For this year’s International Safe Abortion Day, we call upon all countries to:remove all laws and policies restricting the right to safe abortion on request;facilitate access to safe abortion and post-abortion care for everyone who needs them;ensure that post-abortion care is available on an emergency basis at community level, provided by midwives trained in MVA and/or with pills;move abortions out of hospitals except for very late and complicated cases;allow outpatient medical abortion in the second trimester, with social distancing in the clinic and without requiring operating theatre conditions;approve medical abortion pills (mifepristone and misoprostol) on national Essential Medicines Lists; decriminalise abortion to the extent possible − raising or omitting the upper time limit, removing barriers and third party approval, aiming to make abortion a woman’s right to choose.We urge everyone to develop vigorous advocacy campaigns to demonstrate to governments and health professionals the safety, efficacy and acceptability of de-medicalised approaches to safe abortion as part of universal health coverage.
28 September Toolkit and materials to support digital campaigning
TOOLKIT: ACCESS IT HERE!
We also have a host of digital banners, text animations, social media posts and more – access them HERE.
Reporting Your Activities in the Campaign Newsletter and/or on Social Media
We are looking forward to hearing about and reporting all your actions around 28 September!!
Every year for the past five years we have published 4-5 newsletters and shared your statements, publications, visuals, social media activities, meetings and webinars in more than one language and posted them on our website. There is also one newsletter listing all the press and media attention given to 28 September round the world too.
Please send your reports in English, French or Spanish if possible (and other languages too!) no later than 11 October if possible − one report per group please!.
WRITTEN REPORTS to Marge at email@example.com and everything related to social media to Ellioté at firstname.lastname@example.org Include one (or at most two) visuals and no more than 200-300 words.
MEDIA REPORTS to Ellioté at email@example.com with copies of full articles and photos published in your local, national or international media – in all languages. Include the name of the publication and the weblink. If it is in a non-Western alphabet like Russian or Japanese, send a JPEG photo of the report, the name of the media source and the date, if possible in English.
Please provide your name, your email, your group or institution name, the name of your country, a weblink and/or a social media address as the source.
FOR EXAMPLES FROM 2020, SEE: