Swedish government approves increased support for Ipas, reaffirms commitment to women's access to safe abortion

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Ipas CEO Elizabeth Maguire with Ulrika Hertel (l) and Kerstin Jonsson Cissé (r) of Sida

The Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (Sida) has approved a major four-year grant to Ipas, establishing itself as Ipas’s largest core donor.

“Sida has a strong commitment to advancing sexual and reproductive health and rights, especially in the world’s poorest countries,” said Kerstin Jonsson Cissé, Head of Global Programmes in Sida’s Department for International Organisations and Policy Support. “We place high value on our longstanding partnership with Ipas and its comprehensive, rights-based approach to the neglected issue of unsafe abortion.”

With offices in 15 countries and projects and programs in more than 25, Ipas seeks to enhance the ability and rights of women, including young women, to obtain comprehensive abortion care and prevent unwanted pregnancy.

“Ipas is very grateful for Sweden’s bold leadership and generous support.” said Ipas President and CEO Elizabeth Maguire.  “We look forward to helping to implement the recent commitments by nearly 250 parliamentarians from around the world who attended a global conference, hosted by Sweden, to review progress on the ICPD Program of Action.”

Among other commitments, parliamentarians affirmed that they would work “to remove legal barriers preventing women and adolescent girls from access to safe abortion, including revising restrictions within existing abortion laws, and where legal, ensure the availability of safe, good-quality abortion services.”

The new grant from Sida will support Ipas’s global programs, which are focused in three main areas:

  • working with organized health systems to improve the availability, accessibility and quality of postabortion care (emergency treatment of complications of unsafe abortion), induced abortion (in accordance with national laws and guidelines) and postabortion contraception,
  • ensuring that women, including young women, have the knowledge, skills, social support and sources of care in their communities to make and act upon their reproductive decisions, and
  • improving the policy, legislation and rights environment in support of access to comprehensive abortion care and prevention of unwanted pregnancy. 

Sida’s increased support follows previous Sida agreements with Ipas over more than two decades, including special support for Ipas programs in India and Africa as well as Ipas work on introduction of medical abortion methods (abortion with pills).  Expanding women’s access to these methods – both through health systems and in their communities -- will be one of several major emphases during the grant period.  Africa and Asia will continue to be geographic priorities, since unsafe abortion is most prevalent in those regions.

The new and increased Sida funding is complemented by core support for Ipas from several other European donor governments, including Finland, the Netherlands and Norway, and several U.S. foundations.