CATALYSTS, a new Africa-led coalition for abortion rights, launches with ambitious vision

Seeking to more effectively protect and promote abortion rights in Africa in the face of a growing anti-rights movement, Ipas and key partners have launched CATALYSTS—an ambitious, Africa-led coalition of abortion rights advocates.

“CATALYSTS was born out of a realization that in the current abortion rights context in Africa, all organizations working to promote reproductive justice should work together, speaking with one voice,” says Dr. Angela Akol, director of Ipas Africa Alliance.

By building a diverse membership of individuals, organizations and donors, CATALYSTS aims to become a crucial convening space and central platform for abortion rights advocacy across the continent. The founding members are Ipas Africa Alliance, International Federation of Gynecology and Obstetrics, Center for Reproductive Rights, International Planned Parenthood Federation – Africa Region, and Population Council Kenya.

Meeting a growing need for coordinated advocacy

In the wake of the U.S. Supreme Court’s 2022 ruling that overturned Roe v. Wade—and the subsequent ripple effect of anti-rights activity around the world—advocates for reproductive rights across Africa recognized an urgent need to protect hard-won gains and expand abortion access in ways that can’t be easily overturned.

Akol points out that there are many grassroots and national movements working for abortion rights across Africa, but they’re often working in isolation from one another and without the benefit of mutual learning and collaboration for greater impact.

CATALYSTS is dedicated to catalyzing ongoing actions by these diverse actors to protect and advance abortion rights. The most immediate action will be to foster coordination and connections among key stakeholders to streamline their efforts and resources—while also building a unified voice to change the narrative on abortion rights in the region to focus on abortion as essential health care.

“As a space for convening and connection, CATALYSTS gives us a platform from which all of us can adopt the same strategies and present a unified front in our fight against the growing anti-rights movement that threatens to limit and rollback reproductive rights,” Akol says.