By Anu Kumar
There’s no shame in abortion. There’s no shame in talking about abortion. There’s no shame in fighting for bodily autonomy and reproductive freedom. We aren’t alone in our convictions—our research shows that nine out of 10 people living in the United States disagree with abortion bans.
Shame on the small, yet well-organized, group of loudmouths who spent decades chipping away at Roe v. Wade. In 2022, they got it done.
But we won’t be silent. We won’t sit back. We’ll keep working, marching, shouting from the streets, and in the halls of power. Stigma has long shamed and silenced women and girls, and those who seek abortion.
One story has stuck with me—a Ugandan teen, pregnant after sexual abuse by her older brother, sought an abortion at a local clinic. She was turned away, told she had waited too long, and so turned to an unsafe method to end her pregnancy. She died.
It didn’t have to be like that. In places like Uganda, and around the world, Ipas and partners have brought together communities, policymakers, religious leaders, teachers, and teenagers, to expand access to abortion and contraception, to break the stigma and the silence; and to speak up for reproductive freedom.
The fall of Roe v. Wade in the United States is devastating here in the United States, and has had ripple effects around the world. But, let’s remember, those of us standing up for abortion access and reproductive freedom are the majority, and a collective force for good. We’ve had many victories. In the last few years we’ve seen abortion liberalized in Argentina, Chile, Mexico, Ireland, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Benin, India and Thailand. In the last 50 years, more than 50 countries have liberalized their abortion laws.
In the United States, reproductive freedom was snatched away by a powerful minority. And in countries around the world, there are millions of people still denied the right to make their own choices about their bodies. We still have work to do—because we know that when people can safely get an abortion, it not only improves their quality of life, but that of their families, communities and even countries.
Ipas has been working for 50 years to ensure access to abortion and contraception for all, because everyone, no matter who they are or where they live, deserves bodily autonomy—and the ability to live life to their full potential.
Abortion affects every body; when societies support reproductive freedom, everyone benefits.