Impact of service delivery and capacity building on abortion stigma

Beyond the legal and access barriers that women experience, stigma and social barriers impact and delay women’s ability to access safe, high-quality abortion services. Abortion stigma can be defined as a shared understanding that abortion is morally wrong or socially unacceptable. The negative attitudes, judgment, or inferior status associated with those who obtain or provide abortions may manifest among individuals, within communities or institutions, or in public discourse and the media. Abortion stigma is complex and interplays with laws and policies of abortion services in a myriad of ways. Reducing abortion stigma has the potential to increase availability and access to abortion care.

Since 2012, Ibis has partnered with five service-delivery organizations in Latin America and the Caribbean and sub-Saharan Africa. In the first phase of our work together, we partnered with Sea Change to conceptualize theories of change and adapt measurement tools to assess the manifestations of abortion stigma in the contexts in which they work. In the second phase of this work, Ibis continues to provide technical assistance to the organizations, which have designed qualitative or quantitative research to evaluate the impact of their programs in reducing abortion stigma. Such programs include accompaniment models, social media campaigns, provider trainings, and community-based provision of abortion care, among others. We also provide virtual and in-person spaces to share resources, programs, and instruments across contexts.

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