Wednesday, June 11, 2014 | News

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

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.

For more information, contact