Abortion is only legal in Bolivia in cases of rape, incest and immediate risk to a woman’s health or life. Consequently, unsafe abortion is the third leading cause of maternal death, and an estimated 185 women undergo clandestine and often unsafe abortions every day. Professionals who could facilitate women’s access to safe abortion when the legal requirements are met often do not have training on the law and end up creating more barriers for women.
Ipas Bolivia works both to improve women’s access to reproductive health care and safe abortion, and to reduce sexual violence. For years Ipas has worked with community advocates and organizations from across Bolivia’s diverse population, which has more than 30 indigenous groups, to support efforts to inform and train communities on the importance of ending unsafe abortion and on sexual and reproductive health and rights. Ipas programs also include training safe abortion providers, as well as partnering with Bolivia’s Ministry of Justice to train law enforcement, judicial and policy professionals on the legal provisions for abortion—and to ensure that women themselves know the legal grounds for accessing abortion care.
Ready for the next 50 years
I am proud that in Latin America, Ipas is changing women’s lives—and is a pioneer in our comprehensive approach to abortion access. Ipas has always been an incredibly resilient organization, innovating and evolving to address people’s reproductive health needs. In the next 50 years, we’ll continue breaking down barriers to abortion access and work to eradicate the abortion stigma that prevents so many from making their own reproductive health decisions.
Dr. Malena Morales
Impact in 2022
people received abortion at Ipas-supported facilities
people received contraceptive services at Ipas-supported facilities
abortion access points supported
people trained in a program to dismantle toxic masculinity and its harms on reproductive health, including abortion access
people reached during information sessions for community organizations, educational institutions and the police on the topic of sexual and reproductive health, including abortion
Working with public schools to prevent childhood sexual violence in Bolivia
Reaching people in Bolivia through creative storytelling
“Historias de Agua Clara” (The Stories of Agua Clara) is an audionovela set in the fictitious town of Agua Clara. This compelling story series educates the audience and confronts stigma as characters deal with physical, psychological and sexual violence, machismo, unplanned pregnancies, and other issues.
‘It’s the start of something new in our society’
As part of its ongoing work to educate men on the importance of gender equity and the need to eliminate violence against women, Ipas Bolivia launched a public awareness campaign during the most recent national Men’s Day in Bolivia. These efforts included participation in a march organized by the Active Masculinities Network to raise awareness about gender-based violence and confront stereotypes about masculinity. As one marcher said, “We reinforced our commitment as men to women. Why? Because we have sisters, we have families, we have mothers.”
Upholding migrants’ sexual and reproductive rights in Bolivia
“Our actions have a direct impact on the lives of thousands of women and girls”
Malena Morales, Ipas Bolivia Country Director, shares why she’s a passionate advocate for abortion rights