Leila Hessini is the Director of Community Access at Ipas, an international NGO that works to advance women’s sexual and reproductive rights and to expand access to safe abortion care. She is also the joint founder and steering committee of the International Network for the Reduction of Abortion Discrimination and Stigma (www.endabortionstigma.org)
On this Global Day of Action for Access to Safe and Legal Abortion, we celebrate the millions who make a decision that is the right one for them, their families, and their communities. We celebrate the providers who are committed to truly providing patient-centered care regardless of age, sexual or gender orientation, marital status, reason for abortion, or ability to pay. And we celebrate policymakers and activists who have worked tirelessly to overturn laws that criminalize and penalize women.
There is much we can learn from our sisters in the Global South who, rather than trying to gain access to services that all too often do not exist or fail to treat them well, are obtaining pills to induce abortion and taking them at home without seeing a health provider.
Fortunately for women, pills have changed the landscape of abortion. Abortion with pills, also known as medical abortion (MA), provides a safe, low cost and easy to use method to terminate pregnancies, and one to which access is increasing in several countries.
Across the globe, men are making key decisions about women’s most basic human rights. Women’s, feminist, queer and LGBT groups, however, have claimed a space that cannot be denied and are standing up for our rights. One poignant example of these efforts culminates today, November 9.
Worldwide, roughly 43 million women have an abortion each year. Yet these same women face stigma, a form of social control used to dehumanize, devalue, and isolate them. Providers are grappling with effective ways to reduce abortion stigma.
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