Women living in Mexico’s capital are learning more about how to access safe, free, legal abortion services thanks to a new campaign that includes activities and events throughout the city—plus dissemination of messages about sexual and reproductive rights in marketplaces, beauty salons, buses and bus stations, as well as through a web site, radio spots, social networks like Facebook and Twitter, and much more.
“We want all women in the Federal District to know they have the right to a safe, legal abortion free of charge during the first trimester of pregnancy through the public health system,” says Ipas Mexico Director Raffaela Schiavon Ermani. “Women who receive care at the public health hospitals and clinics come from all over the country. They are women seeking a legal abortion in a safe setting.”
Ipas Mexico is one of the five Mexican organizations that comprise the National Alliance for the Right to Choose (Alianza Nacional por el Derecho a Decidir, or ANDAR), which is coordinating the campaign in collaboration with other member organizations Catholics for the Right to Choose; Grupo de Información en Reproducción Elegida (GIRE); Equidad de Género, Ciudadanía, Trabajo y Familia; and the Population Council. All groups work with different areas of focus to promote women’s sexual and reproductive rights.
Abortion is legal up to 12 weeks gestation in Mexico’s Federal District (which includes Mexico City), but legally restricted in all other states. Since legalization eight years ago, more than 135,000 women have received legal abortions in the Federal District, and the health system reports a zero percent mortality rate for these procedures—a rate comparable to the best international statistics. Guaranteeing strict safety protocols, trained staff and appropriate technology, public health facilities are offering high-quality, confidential abortion care that women increasingly trust and turn to when in need.
Seeking to ensure that even women who live in the most marginalized and hardest-to-reach parts of the city know how to access safe services in Mexico’s Federal District, the National Alliance for the Right to Choose launched a campaign in March to provide women with simple, clear information. The campaign website lists all public clinics and hospitals that offer abortion services and outlines easy steps for women to follow if they want to access abortion care. Campaign messages also emphasize that women who seek abortion services at public facilities will not be judged, intimidated or pressured—and that they will be treated by staff fully trained on the topic.
“We strategically selected where to place each of our messages based on the areas with the largest female populations in the city,” says Ipas Mexico Communications Advisor Laura Andrade. “We’re providing information on how to access services by ensuring we reach women in their communities. We aim to be in the places that women frequent. We have messages on the radio and the city’s metrobuses; we’re also walking the streets, informing women face to face and distributing materials in tortilla shops, neighborhood restaurants, etc. And our messages are on the Internet and in the metro system. We really want to reach all women, including those that have limited access to mass media.”
Of the women who have accessed services in the Federal District so far, almost 70 percent are ages 18-29. And while 72.2 percent of women who received services are from the Federal District, 27 percent traveled from other states across Mexico, where abortion is legally restricted.
“The safety and high-quality of legal abortion services in the Federal District demonstrates that it’s possible to meet the needs of women, and this should set the standard for other state governments,” Schiavon Ermani says.
The members of the National Alliance for the Right to Choose are:
- Ipas Mexico
- Equidad de Género, Ciudadanía, Trabajo y Familia
- Catholics for the Right to Choose
- Grupo de Información en Reproducción Elegida (GIRE)
- The Population Council
The video below directs women to the campaign’s website with more information on how to access safe abortion.
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