September 28th is International Safe Abortion Day; a day to mark advances in sexual and reproductive health and rights and to advocate for access to safe abortions worldwide. In the wake of the resurgence of the Global Gag Rule, this year’s International Safe Abortion Day is perhaps more important than ever before.
Prevalence of unsafe abortions globally
According to a new study by the World Health Organization (WHO) and the Guttmacher Institute, 25 million unsafe abortions (45% of all abortions globally) occurred each year between 2010 and 2014. The majority of these unsafe abortions, or 97%, occurred in developing countries in Africa, Asia and Latin America.
Abortions that were considered ‘less safe’ included those where a woman was taking pills alone or was using a method of abortion no longer considered best practice. By comparison, abortions categorised as ‘least safe’ involved dangerous backstreet measures such as swallowing toxic substances or else inserting wires in an attempt to induce a miscarriage.
“I Resist, We Persist”
More than 200 million women worldwide have an unmet need for modern contraception, particularly in developing countries. Yet international and non-governmental organisations working to meet these needs, as well as to advocate for sexual and reproductive health and rights, are facing dire setbacks.
In response to US President Trump’s decision to reinstate and expand the Global Gag Rule, governments and organisations from around the world have banded together to create the She Decides initiative. On International Safe Abortion Day, She Decides has publicly stated that it is “unapologetic about pushing for a world where everyone can access abortion safely.”
Population Matters supports universal access to safe, effective contraception, and looks forward to the day when there are no unwanted pregnancies and abortion is no longer required. In 2017, it remains an essential component of voluntary family planning and we support the right of women to access safe abortions. Population Matters is one of more than 230 organisations worldwide to support a statement backing She Decides. We have also joined more than 400 development, social justice, women’s rights and family planning organisations in signing a joint statement condemning the reinstatement of the Gag rule.
Please join the campaign to defend family planning: