A declaration in support of a global campaign for safe abortion access

December 2011

DAKAR, SENEGAL (December 29, 2011) – The need to integrate safe abortion care within family planning programs and comprehensive sexual and reproductive health and rights has been a recurring theme in the 2011 International Conference on Family Planning. 

Despite commitments from ICPD, CEDAW, UN Millennium Development Goals 5 and 5(b), and international women’s conferences, women around the world continue to suffer death and disability due to unsafe abortion. Approximately 22 million unsafe abortions take place globally, contributing to high rates of maternal mortality and morbidity. Each one of these deaths and disabilities is unacceptable and preventable.

Many of these tragic deaths and disabilities can be prevented with the provision of comprehensive, safe abortion care. Abortion care and family planning services are intertwined; they are integral components of comprehensive women’s sexual and reproductive health and rights. These services should be provided to all women irrespective of age, marital status, color, ethnicity, religion, gender and sexual orientation, socio-economic status, and where they live and work.

Young women account for almost half of the estimated unsafe abortion-related deaths. Changing demographics will result in a significantly larger proportion of the population being under 25 years old. We need to take immediate action to save young women’s lives so they are able to achieve their true potential and assume rightful leadership in social and economic development.

To respect and fulfill women’s rights and facilitate all women’s access to comprehensive abortion care including family planning services, states are called to decriminalize abortion as per the Bejing Platform for Action and the recent statement to the UN General Assembly by the Special Rapporteur for Health of the UN Human Rights Council.

More political and financial commitment to comprehensive abortion care is required to ensure the fulfilment of goals set by the international community.

Abortion has been systematically neglected in many sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR) strategies and programmes. We call for the inclusion of high-quality, accessible, and affordable abortion care in all global SRHR programmes and guaranteed access to the full range of safe abortion care for all women.

This declaration was prepared by networks and agencies participating in the 2011 International Conference on Family Planning that are working to advance a global campaign for safe abortion access, including: African Network for Medical Abortion (ANMA); Asia Safe Abortion Partnership (ASAP); Bixby Center for Population, Health and Sustainability at the University of California, Berkeley; Family Care International (FCI); Ghana Health Service, Ministry of Health; Gynuity Health Projects; Ibis Reproductive Health; International Consortium for Medical Abortion (ICMA); International Planned Parenthood Federation (IPPF); Ipas; Latin American Consortium against Unsafe Abortion (CLACAI in Spanish); Pathfinder International; Planned Parenthood Global; Population Council; Venture Strategies for Health and Development (VSHD); Venture Strategies Innovations (VSI) and Women Deliver.

A similar declaration was prepared and read by the following partners during the 6thAsia Pacific Conference on Reproductive and Sexual Health and Rights (APCRSHR) held in Yogyakarta, Indonesia in October 2011: Asia Safe Abortion Partnership (ASAP), Concept Foundation, Women on Waves, Women’s Global Network for Reproductive Rights (WGNRR) and the International Planned Parenthood Federation East and SE Asia and Oceania Region (IPPF-ESEAOR) and South Asia Region (IPPF-SAR).

For more information, please contact:
Dr. Selma Hajri, ANMA Co-Chair at selmahajri@gmail.com 
Dr. Getachew Bekele, ANMA Co-Chair at getachew.b2000@yahoo.com