Advocating for abortion access is unlike advocacy on any other global health-care issue. This publication shares insights and lessons learned by Ipas staff and our partners around the world through decades of advocacy work to expand abortion access. The content outlines key obstacles and opportunities that advocates encounter, plus strategies for overcoming common challenges.
The Helms amendment is a law barring U.S. foreign assistance from being used for abortion services. This fact sheet describes the negative impact of the Helms amendment in Nepal. The country liberalized its abortion law in 2002 and the right to safe motherhood and reproductive health was guaranteed by the 2015 Constitution. In 2018 the Right to Safe Motherhood and Reproductive Health Act further ensured that women and girls in Nepal have the right to access safe, legal abortion free of charge at public health facilities. Yet due in great part to U.S. funding restrictions like the Helms Amendment, Nepal’s reproductive health care provision is fragmented and needlessly inefficient, putting the most burden on women and girls seeking abortion care.
If your organization receives global health assistance (monetary and non-monetary) from the U.S. government, there may be certain types of abortion-related work that you cannot perform—and these restrictions can even limit work funded from sources other than the U.S. government.
This guide is intended for advocates interested in supporting expanded access to safe abortion care in their countries. It will help you and your colleagues develop a strategy that considers the unique considerations for abortion-related advocacy. It is intended that you will work through the guide with a small group of stakeholders who are committed to working together on expanded access to safe abortion care.
This resource is an excerpt from Ipas’s Roots of Change: a step-by-step advocacy guide for expanding access to safe abortion. The purpose of this section is to provide you with the key considerations and practical resources necessary to ensure a sustainable and well-functioning coalition for your advocacy work.
This two-page fact sheet is adapted from a 2013 Ipas report investigating the impact of criminal abortion laws on women, their families and health-care providers in three South American countries—Bolivia, Brazil and Argentina.
This fact sheet highlights the disproportionately high impact of criminal abortion laws on young women. In places where abortion is a crime, women who are young, poor, uneducated and facing an unwanted pregnancy are at greater risk of resorting to illegal and unsafe abortions, and consequently being investigated, arrested and prosecuted.
An overview of progressive abortion policy changes and trends in Africa, primarily between 2010-2016. It outlines strategies in regional policy work by Ipas and partners and points to examples of positive policy change, such as national law reform, updated standards and guidelines, commitments by policymakers, and the integration of safe abortion into regional strategies and actions plans on sexual and reproductive health and rights.
This guide is a resource for advocates, trainers, project managers and technical advisors who design programs and workshops to engage police on abortion issues. Drawing on the work of Ipas and other organizations, it offers practical strategies for partnering with police to address stigmatized issues and promote public health, with a specific focus on abortion. It can be used both in settings where abortion is legal and accessible and in settings where it is highly restricted.
The longstanding provider-patient confidentiality relationship is quietly eroding as an alarming number of medical staff across Latin America are reporting women and girls to the police for having abortions. Many countries now require, protect or encourage medical providers to breach their confidentiality duties when they treat women seeking postabortion care. This publication covers the three main ways health-care providers are compelled to breach confidentiality, based on the varying Latin American laws governing provider obligations on the issue of abortion. It also details how such laws impact both providers and women, and lists the many international bodies, declarations, consensus documents, etc. that establish standards for protecting patient confidentiality. Finally, the publication provides recommendations for international human rights bodies, governments and health-care professionals to protect women’s right to confidentiality as well as providers’ ethical obligation to uphold that right.
For women who want to end their pregnancies, laws that allow only medical doctors to provide abortion are real barriers. Abortion can safely be provided by nurses, midwives, paramedical personnel and other midlevel providers. Women who have correct information can take pills to end a pregnancy safely outside a health facility. However, many abortion laws require the involvement of one or more medical doctors. These laws criminalize women and other health professionals who end pregnancies safely without a doctor. Under doctor-only laws, health systems—particularly in the global south—cannot train enough abortion providers to make abortion accessible to all women. Doctor-only laws discriminate against women who belong to vulnerable and disadvantaged groups and who are least likely to have access to medical doctors. Lawmakers need not designate who can provide abortion in the law. Documents such as national health standards and guidelines are better suited to clarify who are authorized providers. This publication explains how Standards and Guidelines, enacted by the Ministry of Health and ideally updated every few years, can reflect the latest scientific evidence in abortion care.
Access to safe abortion and contraception: Vital for young women globally, a priority for U.S. foreign assistance
The United States, as the world’s foreign assistance leader, must play a key role in safeguarding a comprehensive and integrated approach to sexual and reproductive health and rights for young women. This fact sheet outlines policy challenges that deny young women their sexual and reproductive rights and puts forth policy actions the U.S. government should take: expand family planning funding, repeal the damaging Helms Amendment, permanently repeal the Mexico City Policy (also called the Global Gag Rule), and continue to work toward a progressive sexual and reproductive health agenda in platforms like the International Conference on Population and Development and the United Nations.
Sexual violence and unwanted pregnancy: Protecting the human rights of adolescent girls and young women
This publication provides evidence and explanation for why Ipas urges governments and policymakers to ensure that all young women—including survivors of sexual violence—have access to comprehensive sexual and reproductive health care, including safe abortion services.
This toolkit is designed to help reproductive rights advocates participate in national constitutional reform processes. It looks at the potential consequences of constitutional protection of life at conception and outlines ways reproductive rights advocates can influence the constitutional reform process. It also may be useful for advocates facing constitutional amendments or engaging in litigation.
In Latin America, government responses to the Zika virus have been weak, disregarding the best interests of pregnant women and those who may become pregnant. This brief outlines Ipas’s stance on governments’ responses to the Zika crisis and women’s sexual and reproductive health needs. The brief also lists measures states can take to protect women’s health and rights during the Zika outbreak.
Organized in four parts, this training manual aims to foster an advocacy perspective in health-care providers who are involved in delivering abortion and/or postabortion care. The manual will help providers recognize their personal power as advocates and identify different circumstances and means to advocate for comprehensive abortion care to the full limits of the law.
This toolkit is intended for advocates interested in supporting the integration of abortion into comprehensive sexuality education (CSE) programs. It covers key considerations for undertaking advocacy for CSE, plus tools to support advocates in developing a strategy and planning activities that respond to their national context.