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Abortion Care

IPPF works to ensure that every woman and girl has the human right to choose to be pregnant or not and we will continue to supply and support safe and legal abortion services and care. We are committed to reducing the number of deaths of women and girls who are forced to turn to unsafe abortion methods. Make Abortion Safe. Make Abortion Legal. For all Women and Girls. Everywhere.

Articles by Abortion Care

Día de Acción Global por la Salud de las Mujeres
28 May 2024

Women's health in the age of climate change

Haz click aquí para leer este texto en español.     Women's health in the age of climate change  By Eugenia López Uribe, IPPF ACRO Regional Director      Can you imagine a world where all women are free to make decisions about their sexuality and well-being?  Gender-based violence, lack of investment in quality health services resulting in limited services, obstructive health workers, insufficient supplies and little or inaccurate information are just some of the barriers women face in accessing their right to sexual and reproductive health. As we commemorate International Day of Action for Women's Health, I would like to emphasise how women's health is further threatened by the climate crisis.   Let’s start by answering what is sexual and reproductive health? When we talk about sexual and reproductive health for women, we mean, among other things, that they can: Have safe and satisfying sex lives. Decide about their reproduction: decide whether they want to be mothers or not, as well as the number and spacing of their children. Decide their sexual and romantic partners. To live and explore their sexual orientation and gender identity with freedom and safety. Access affordable and quality sexuality-related health services.   For women's right to health to be guaranteed, it is vital that they have access to quality, accessible and affordable sexual and reproductive health services. These services should include contraception, prevention and treatment of sexually transmitted infections (STIs), prenatal care, childbirth and postpartum care, sexual violence care and counselling, abortion care, fertility care, cervical cancer prevention and treatment, accurate information, among others. For a variety of reasons, women and girls still face barriers to receiving these services in a comprehensive manner. This is even more complex in the context of the current climate emergency.       How does the climate crisis affect women's access to health? Gender inequalities, poverty, discrimination and the lack of policies that guarantee access to education and health services are factors that limit women's enjoyment of sexual and reproductive health. Today, the consequences of the climate crisis have become an additional obstacle. According to UN data, 80% of people displaced by climate change are women and girls. The gender-differentiated effect cannot go unnoticed.   Here are some examples:  The destruction of critical infrastructure, such as health clinics and transportation routes, caused by extreme weather events can prevent women and girls from reaching health services or make them unavailable to them. In humanitarian response work during emergency situations, sexual and reproductive health services are often underfunded. Because they are not considered priority services, women are forced to go through their pregnancies, childbirths, postpartum and menstrual cycles under the worst conditions.  In addition, research has found significant associations between air pollution and heat exposure and risk pregnancy outcomes, including preterm birth, low birth weight and stillbirth.  Extreme weather events caused by climate change increase the lack of access to clean and safe water. As well as being vital to people's overall health, lack of water presents a profound challenge to menstrual management, pregnancy care, the administration of certain contraceptive methods and the provision of safe abortion.    The climate crisis has many other harmful impacts on women's lives. When women are displaced, they are at greater risk of violence, including sexual violence. Living in emergency camps or crossing migration routes exposes them to dangers such as human trafficking, early and forced marriages and unions, and exploitative labour.  A terrible example is the current crisis in Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil, where massive flooding has forced more than 600,000 people to flee their homes and has affected more than 2.3 million Brazilians. In addition, as of May 25, 165 people have been killed, 130 are missing and 2.1 million people have been affected. Gestos, IPPF's Collaborating Partner in Brazil, notes with indignation and concern in this statement the cases of sexual violence against women - including minors - in shelters.         An urgent call to action   At this moment in history, we all understand that inequalities and marginalisation are key factors that increase vulnerability to the impacts of the climate crisis. Addressing gender inequality and other forms of marginalisation is therefore crucial in the context of the current climate emergency.  A key tool for doing so is to mandate governments to implement the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction, which articulates with the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and explicitly targets access to reproductive health services among important measures to improve resilience and empower people disproportionately affected by disasters. This declaration, also signed in 2015 by UN Member States, commits ‘to promote universal access to Sexual and Reproductive Health services with a view to fostering healthy societies.    Thus, on this International Day of Action for Women's Health, we call on governments to remind them it is urgent to invest in strengthening resilience and adaptive capacity, both to the slow impacts of the climate crisis and to its more immediate effects. We need to prioritize women, youth and girls in all their diversity, as they are the ones who bear the weight of the crisis.     At IPPF, we are committed to, and are making significant progress to:   Strengthen evidence linking Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights and the climate crisis; Support communities to adapt to the impacts of the crisis;    Reduce our own carbon footprint and the impacts of our internal policies.    However, our efforts as a Federation and as part of civil society alliances will not be enough. Governments and decision-makers must recognise and support access to sexual and reproductive health and rights as fundamental to climate change adaptation and resilience. It is imperative that they place human rights, environmental justice and gender equality at the centre of efforts to address the climate crisis.   We must address today the responsibility of countries to reduce their emissions and advocate for low- and middle-income countries to have the financial conditions necessary to respond and adapt to the climate crisis. Women and girls can wait no longer.        This text was written by Eugenia López Uribe, Regional Director at IPPF ACRO. Eugenia is an experienced advocate for gender equality and sexual and reproductive rights, promoting innovation in the delivery of health services from a human rights perspective. She has worked with rural and indigenous people, adolescents, youth, LGBTQI+ populations, sex workers and women with HIV in Latin America and the Caribbean.

The power of pleasure in your hands- masturbation may
21 May 2024

Reclaiming our power to pleasure ourselves

Haz click aquí para leer este texto en español. When was the last time you erotically touched your body to pleasure yourself?    Months ago? Today? Was it the last time you were alone at home? Do you remember? Let's speak without shame or fear: masturbation is  gooooood. Some people do it to get off, others to sleep better, others to prepare the scene for more sexual activities with partners. The reason doesn’t matter, May is the month dedicated to Masturbation, so it is a good time to take a deeper dive into it.   The perfect touch  Masturbation is the erotic stimulation of our bodies, more specifically, the genitals. We can do it with our hands, pillows, sex-toys and many other ways. Our creativity is our limit. And we can do it alone or by allowing other people to do it for us. Through masturbation, we can learn about our body, what arouses us, what we like and what we don’t.   It is also a great way to feel sexual pleasure.  The purpose can vary. There are people who don't feel ready to have sex and there are times when we don't want to be with other people. It doesn’t matter. With or without a partner, the reason that makes us want to masturbate is that it can give us a lot of pleasure. Yes! It feels good.   We feel pleasure when we touch ourselves, when we find our own right movement and the level of pressure to fill our nervous system with the “happy hormones” – endorphins, serotonin, dopamine, and oxytocin. That’s why masturbating is good not only at that moment, but also after the orgasm, helping us to lower the stress, to block pain, and to relax throughout the day. Moreover, allowing ourselves to achieve this level of pleasure is a firm sign that we are taking good care of our body and mind.       Reclaiming our power to pleasure ourselves  Picture this: you walk into your favourite coffee shop, straightforward to the counter and very sure of yourself and you order your preferred drink, whatever it is. You choose the beverage, the size, the syrup flavour, the sweetener, and temperature. You pay the bill and wait at the end of the counter. They call out your name and, finally, you take that first sip that you desired so much. What does it taste like? How does it feel?   There are few things that can compare to this feeling, the empowerment that comes with asking exactly for what you want--- and getting it.   In a coffee shop, in life, and in sexual practices, getting to the point where you know exactly what you want can be a little tricky, and sometimes it takes time. Masturbation is a journey to understand our sexual preferences and desires. Claiming our power to pleasure ourselves is about adding more possibilities rather than only experiencing it with others. It’s about developing the power of knowing what works best for us and being able to make it happen.  Let’s not forget that pleasure is also a political issue, which has to do with our right to our bodies. Hence, masturbation is too. Societies often feel geared towards norms and end up imposing impose shame, fear and misinformation about masturbation. In many countries and cultures our sexuality has been turned into a taboo. However, acts of self-enjoyment, like masturbation, can be a form of resistance against this system. By reclaiming our time and our bodies, and the use of both for our pure pleasure, we recover our right to decide about our lives.       An act of self-care  Self-care has been addressed in different ways over time. Recently, mostly due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, it has been used to refer to acts of self-enjoyment, hobbies, and new habits, such as adopting organic food, exercise practices, greater water intake, and encouraging a more positive and healthy way of living.  And YES, we’re here for it. This rise of the self-care movement has underpinned the importance of carrying out activities that centre our well-being.  Masturbation then, encompasses self-care very well.  Besides reducing the stress and improving sleep, it also boosts our immunity system, and it is linked to lower prostate cancer in people with penis and reduced risk of urinary infections in people with vulvas, while also improving cognitive functioning and self-image.  And let’s not forget: pleasure is also a vital aspect of our mental and physical well-being.   Along with masturbation, there’s other decisions and acts we can take to achieve our pleasure and self-care, such as making informed decisions on the contraceptive method that best suits our needs, planning on reproductive choices, on our career, and on leisure activities, as well as deciding on having abortions or continuing pregnancies when we’re faced with a positive pregnancy test.   Did you ever think about it?  Finishing off  Masturbation is an act of pleasure, but also a reminder that you are the expert: what feels right and what doesn’t is up to you. You have - literally- the power in your hands.  In bed, or in society, alone, in a group or with a partner, you will always be the one who knows what is the best for you. 😉 Happy Masturbation May! 

March News Round-Up
01 April 2024

March News Round-Up

IPPF ACRO participates in the C20 Conception Meeting in Brazil. Kamilah Morain, Director of Member Association Support and Development at ACRO, participated in the inaugural meeting of the C20 Engagement Group in Recife, Brazil. This group plans and proposes policies for the upcoming G20 forum, which will take place in November 2024, focusing on issues such as health and education. As the co-facilitator of the Women's Rights and Gender Equality working group, she will, on behalf of IPPF ACRO, seek to ensure that the voices of women and girls are heard by the G20 leaders. This is crucial because the G20 represents a large portion of the global economy and trade.   Profamilia ready to host the Seventh International Conference on Family Planning in November 2025. For the first time in history, the International Conference on Family Planning (ICFP) will be held in Latin America, and Profamilia Colombia will be a co-host! Alongside the William H. Gates Sr. Institute for Reproductive Health and Population and the Government of Colombia and the Valle del Lili Foundation, Profamilia will welcome thousands of family planning professionals from November 3rd to 6th, 2025, in Colombia. The ICFP serves as a gathering point for governments, institutions, researchers, activists, and professionals seeking to promote collaboration and innovation in sexual and reproductive health. On this occasion, Colombia has been chosen as the venue due to the government's commitment and the efforts of social movements that have resulted in significant advances in access to sexual and reproductive health for Colombian people. See you there!   Gestos succeeds in canceling the HIV and other STI testing requirement in the city of Lagoa do Carro, Brazil. Thanks to a complaint from Gestos' legal team, and in collaboration with Caop Cidadania and the Public Ministry of Carpina, the municipal government of Lagoa do Carro canceled the requirement to undergo HIV, Syphilis, and Hepatitis B and C testing in its contests. This significant victory for human rights and the advancement of sexual and reproductive health is a reminder that demanding STI test results is a discriminatory practice that violates human rights. Furthermore, in Brazil, the right to confidentiality is guaranteed by law. Congratulations to the Gestos team for their hard work in guaranteeing the rights of people living with HIV!   Kamala Harris visits a Planned Parenthood clinic and becomes the first Vice President of the United States to visit an abortion clinic. The sixth stop on Vice President Kamala Harris's "Fighting for Reproductive Freedom" Tour was a Planned Parenthood abortion clinic. It has been a great opportunity for the Vice President to see the great work that Planned Parenthood does every day to provide sexual and reproductive health care, including safe abortion. In the months leading up to the presidential elections, she has positioned herself as an advocate for access to abortion in a complicated context following the Supreme Court's recent decisions on this issue. "It is right and just that people have access to the health care they need," Kamala Harris said at a press conference.   If you want to receive SRHR news directly from the ground to your inbox, subscribe to our newsletter "Rising the Tide". Subscribe

Chicas colombianas en la calle con pañuelos verdes apoyando la decriminalización del aborto
21 February 2024

Two years of a historic decision

Two years ago, Colombia took a historic step on a path that has been trodden for decades by thousands of women and whose goal has always been equity, guaranteed rights and recognition of their full citizenship. Two years ago, abortion permeated our society with the force of solid arguments that demanded its guarantee as a matter of human rights, public health and social justice.  Two years ago, a sentence by Annie Ernaux, Nobel Prize in Literature (2022) echoed in my head because of the power and significance of the coincidence that reminded us that: "the impossibility of imagining that one day women could decide to have an abortion freely" had ended in Colombia with Ruling 055 of 2022. It only took a few months to prove that the Constitutional Court was right in its decision, that the decriminalisation of abortion was the way forward, and that the weighting of women's rights brings us ever closer to that society with true gender equality for which so many of us are working. You got it right, Court! At the time, one of the main arguments used by opponents of decriminalising abortion in the country was that the 24-week time limit was too long, which would mean that women and pregnant women would wait until they reached the maximum permitted limit to have an abortion. The truth is that no woman, of her own free will and intention, would seek to continue her pregnancy in order to terminate it at advanced gestational age. On the contrary, the balance of the first two years indicates that 9 out of 10 abortions performed at Profamilia were performed before the 12th week of gestation, that is, 92% of the total number of voluntary terminations of pregnancy were performed in the first trimester and by means of medication. It was a good decision, Court! The same balance sheet shows an 18.7% increase in the number of abortions in the last two years, and not because women are having more abortions for the sake of it. The increase, as well as being expected, is positive because it represents the registration in the system of those who without decriminalisation would have resorted to unsafe, clandestine procedures that would put their lives at risk, but today, at least under the law, can do so legally, safely and with the opportunity to do so.

1 ano colombia
21 February 2023

1 year anniversary of the historic decision to decriminalize abortion in Colombia

1 year anniversary of the historic decision to decriminalize abortion in Colombia February 21, 2023 Profamilia – an IPPF Member Association and a leading organization in the defence and guarantee of Sexual and Reproductive Rights in Colombia - celebrates the first year of the Constitutional Court decision that allowed the decriminalization of abortion in Colombia up to 24 weeks of gestation. This represents a historic step for the guarantee of the rights of women and pregnant people in the country and Latin America, as well as a transcendental advance towards the recognition of their autonomy and full citizenship. Thanks to the ruling, those who are faced with an unwanted pregnancy and decide to have an abortion will not be prosecuted or criminalized for accessing what is now considered a health service and a matter of social justice. Similarly, the organization recognizes the issuance of Resolution 051 of 2023, with which the Ministry of Health regulates comprehensive care to provide abortion services throughout Colombia. This resolution recognizes that both women and pregnant people (transgender men, trans masculinities, non-binary people, among others) can access the service without restrictions and reiterates that abortion is an essential and urgent health service that must be guaranteed and not suspended. Since its enactment, Profamilia has guaranteed the implementation of Ruling C-055 of 2022 in its network of more than 53 clinics specialized in sexual and reproductive health nationwide.  In this sense, the Organization shares with public opinion an analysis of what has been evidenced in the first year of the Sentence, as well as recommendations to move towards a society that respects and guarantees the application of the current jurisprudence in favour of the rights and reproductive autonomy of women and pregnant people in the country. The Positive side: Decriminalization increases access and engagement ·   Women, trans men and non-binary people who decide to terminate their pregnancies do so early. During this first year, 97.2% of the abortions performed through Profamilia were performed before the 16th week of gestation and of these, 86% before the 12th week and only 1.1% of the procedures were performed after 24 weeks, under one of the grounds of Ruling C-355 of 2006. ·   After Ruling C-055, access to safe abortion has improved. The Organization recorded a 65.9% increase in procedures. This information coincides with evidence from other countries (Uruguay, France, Portugal, Spain, Mexico City, Mexico) in which, after the legalization of voluntary interruption of pregnancy, there is no long-term increase in procedures, but rather an initial increase that then stabilizes and even decreases. ·   Profamilia has strengthened its MIA service, which accompanies and performs self-managed abortions up to 12 weeks of gestation through telemedicine. This service has reached women who wish to terminate their pregnancies in hard-to-reach municipalities such as: Leticia, in Amazonas, Bahía Solano, in Chocó, San Vicente del Caguán, in Caquetá, Dibulla, in La Guajira, among others. ·   Different authorities have fulfilled their obligations and reiterated their commitment to abortion rights. In August 2022, the National Government, through the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, communicated that Colombia officially withdrew from the Geneva Consensus Declaration - recognized for seeking to undermine reproductive autonomy and family diversity - and reiterated that the country recognizes, respects and protects the sexual and reproductive rights of women and girls and that, in accordance with the Political Constitution and the jurisprudence of the Constitutional Court, the right to legal and safe abortion is an integral and indivisible part of sexual and reproductive rights and health. ·   Resolution 051 of 2023 of the Ministry of Health guarantees the service for migrant women in Colombia and recognizes this right as an essential and urgent service that can never be suspended. It also eliminates co-payments and moderating fees in EPS and medical centers. It reaffirms that minors under 14 years of age may decide autonomously about an abortion, without their parents' permission and even when their decision is contrary to their parents'. The resolution urges to modernize the protocols as an advance for the welfare of women and pregnant people. ·   On February 2, 2023, the Council of Bogota approved Agreement 023, which aims to guarantee the right to abortion without barriers and promote knowledge and access to information on rights and prevention of early motherhood and fatherhood, which not only impacts the right to health, but also strengthens the sector and becomes a benchmark for other cities in the country in the commitment they must make to ensure access to abortion as a health service. ·   The National Development Plan for the period 2022-2026 included the guarantee of the right to abortion (Voluntary Interruption of Pregnancy) in the framework of the formulation and implementation of the National Policy on Sexuality, Sexual and Reproductive Rights that must be updated for the next 10 years, with this it is possible to ensure resources to promote the materialization of all measures and actions to ensure the guarantee of the right to abortion in Colombia. Still concerning: Barriers and violence persist ·   Despite Ruling C-055 of 2022, Profamilia has received users, with less than 24 weeks of gestation, who report having encountered barriers in health professionals who have limited the right and service of abortion. ·   On the other hand, Profamilia's statistics on the provision of IVE (Voluntary Interruption of Pregnancy) services in its network of clinics throughout the country reveal a worrying increase in sexual violence against minors under 14 years of age, with an increase from 47.3% in 2021 to 2022. This data coincides, unfortunately, with the report of the National Institute of Legal Medicine and Forensic Sciences which indicates that there was a 23% increase by 2022 of sexual crimes against minors, compared to previous year. ·   The legalization of abortion in Colombia has shown limitations in the quality of services, it is essential to eliminate all forms of discrimination and violence, training and sensitization of health personnel, the elimination of curettage as the main technique and the definitive closure of sites where unsafe procedures are practiced. What are the challenges? ·   It is necessary to fully comply with the orders of Ruling C-055 of 2022. That is why it is essential to support the approval of legislative and public policy initiatives that seek the implementation and strengthening of Comprehensive Sexuality Education in all educational institutions in the country, in order to prevent gender-based violence, promote the safe and responsible exercise of sexual and reproductive autonomy, knowledge and empowerment in rights, effective and timely access to contraceptive methods, as well as the search for a society with gender equity. ·   With the management of abortion as a public health issue, the country has the possibility of ending the preventable death of 70 women who lose their lives each year due to unsafe abortions, as well as reducing and avoiding 132,000 complications derived from this type of procedure. The legalization of abortion represents the opportunity to place the protection of the health and lives of girls and women at the center as the main objective of all public health policy. ·   The elimination of barriers to access to safe abortion services should be a priority for local health authorities, who are responsible for the inspection, surveillance and control of the health system in their jurisdictions. It is necessary to implement intersectoral mechanisms for follow-up and monitoring of barriers and technical accompaniment of health care providers to ensure an orderly and systematized implementation of the jurisprudence of the Constitutional Court and the regulatory norms that have been issued. ·   Territorial entities, at all levels, must take the initiative and leadership to make sexual and reproductive rights a reality in their jurisdictions. The example of the Bogotá Council and its agreement on the elimination of barriers to safe abortion is an example of how local measures can be adopted to facilitate the implementation of constitutional and regulatory mandates on abortion with actions. "After one year it is possible to see the progress, the country has made in terms of reproductive autonomy and rights for women and pregnant people. However, we must move from text to action, ensuring that Ruling 055 of 2022 is implemented. Profamilia's commitment will always be to provide comprehensive, humanized and safe services that allow free and informed decision making, and we reiterate this today,” said Marta Royo, Executive Director of Profamilia. “Colombia has set a standard for the region, women and pregnant people deserves to choose the best decision for them and their families. In IPPF we are committed to grow the green wave to ensure that all the countries have equal rights for all, especially in Central America and the Caribbean“ said Eugenia López Uribe, Regional Director of IPPF for the Americas and The Caribbean.  

Photography by Wara Vargas Lara for IPPF - Bolivia s28 2022
20 February 2023

On this World Day Of Social Justice we call for the protection of ALL activists

On this World Day Of Social Justice, we demand that states be proactive in Overcoming Barriers and Unleashing Opportunities for Social Justice.  In 2022 activists won a major victory with the decriminalization of abortion in Colombia, reminding us that despite the obstacles in much of the region there is hope as the green wave spreads thanks to grassroots activism everywhere. In The Caribbean, physical and sexual violence towards trans people often goes unreported as there are no legal mechanisms to acknowledge a change in gender markers - which in itself is a form of violence. And even with arguably some of the largest activist populations both Brazil and Mexico remained the most violent places for Trans people to live in 2022. The United States is the third most dangerous, a statistic which may well increase given the record number of 300+ anti-LGBTQ+ legislation which has been introduced in the first two months of 2023.       Despite all of these challenges, LGBTQI+ communities across the region continue to be at the forefront of movements and activism across the region. Local Caribbean activists saw their hard work rewarded in the repeal of colonial-era laws banning same-sex intimacy in 3 countries - Saint Kitts and Nevis, Antigua and Barbuda, and Barbados in 2022.  These activists must be protected in order to continue their fight for rights and justice.  There are solutions that include all of us, and all eyes are on the governments of our region to provide protection from discrimination and violence.  

dr

Statement on the Penal Code of The Dominican Republic

15 February 2023  For immediate release: Statement on the Penal Code of The Dominican Republic  International Planned Parenthood Federation - Americas and The Caribbean Regional Office (IPPF ACRO)  Two decades' worth of attempts by national feminist movements to reform the Dominican Republic's brutal Criminal Code has failed. The Caribbean country is one of the five countries in the world where ending a pregnancy is strictly prohibited under any circumstances. Abortion is now the third leading cause of maternal death in the country. The current Criminal Code dates back to 1884 and despite the Chamber of Deputies approving a revision to the Criminal Code in 2014 to allow abortion in the following three circumstances: where the pregnancy poses a risk to the life of a pregnant person, where the fetus could not survive outside the womb, and where the pregnancy is the result of rape or incest. The revision was struck down by the Constitutional Court in 2015. Despite President Luis Abinader vocal support of decriminalising support in certain circumstances, the decision today fails all pregnant people and will undoubtedly force more to turn to unsafe abortion methods that could be fatal.   Eugenia Lopez Uribe – IPPF Americas and Caribbean Regional Director said: “ For twenty years the strong feminist movements in the Dominican Republic have fought to reform the barbaric Criminal Code that denies pregnant people access to safe and legal abortion. The Criminal Code is 140 years old, it did not serve the population then and it does not serve them now. IPPF will continue to stand side by side with the movement in the Dominican Republic to fight for reform, freedom and justice. All people must have the freedom to decide what happens to their body and that includes being able to end a pregnancy safely. Noone should have to die because of this Criminal Code that has caused so much harm and death.”  IPPF - Americas and the Caribbean Regional Office stands in firm solidarity with the people of Dominican Republic and the feminist movements as we continue to fight for bodily autonomy, freedom, and reproductive justice. We acknowledge the enormous contribution of the Dominican leadership to the social justice movements in the region including the struggle for racial justice.  

green globe
08 July 2022

Statement: Antigua and Barbuda to re-examine abortion laws

For immediate release:  Antigua Planned Parenthood Association (APPA) / International Planned Parenthood Federation - Americas and The Caribbean Regional Office (IPPF ACRO) Statement on the government of Antigua and Barbuda re-examining abortion laws.    As the government announces a re-examination of existing abortion laws in Antigua and Barbuda the Antigua Planned Parenthood Association (APPA) is pleased that policymakers have heard the call of millions of women worldwide in the wake of the detrimental ruling of Roe vs. Wade in the U.S.A.   Access to abortion has been criminalized in Antigua and Barbuda since 1895, however, the government has acknowledged that the legal status has not prevented abortions with Chief of Staff in the Office of the Prime Minister, Lionel Hurst, commenting “We know that it is better to have it done by a doctor than the practice used by some of having non-professionals engaged in this system – because it can cause permanent damage”.  The recognition that the current legislation has caused more harm than good, is certainly an encouraging first step toward the right to bodily autonomy for the women and girls in the country.   “In our local context, the laws which criminalize abortion do not prevent the practice but certainly restrict access to safe and timely medical care. Decriminalizing abortion care would mean access to often life-saving care is a reality for women in Antigua and Barbuda.” - Lyndale Weaver-Greenaway, Executive Director at Antigua Planned Parenthood Association    The mission of the Antigua Planned Parenthood Association (APPA), established in 1970, is “to advance the sexual and reproductive well-being of the Antiguan and Barbudan population by providing safe, efficient, and affordable sexual and reproductive health services including family planning”  Dona Da Cosa Martinez, Deputy Regional Director of International Planned Parenthood Federation (IPPF) Americas and The Caribbean Regional Office commends the government's recognition of the need for re-examination of restrictive laws that do more harm than good for its citizens., “Antigua and Barbuda are now at the height of making the changes which are necessary to ensure the protection and fulfillment of the human rights of all its citizens to have full access to reproductive care, and in doing so, establishing a precedent for the rest of the Caribbean to follow. Now is the time for regional leaders to ensure free and full access to safe abortion care in all their countries.”    The Antigua Planned Parenthood Association (APPA) is an Associate Member of the International Planned Parenthood Federation (IPPF), a movement of 120 autonomous members with a presence in over 146 countries. Member Associations provide non-profit family planning services, sexual health, and abuse prevention training and education. IPPF’s goals include giving clients the information necessary to make informed sexual health decisions, promoting continuous sexual health, and making high-quality sexual health services available.  

roe

US Supreme Court overturns Roe v Wade in devastating blow to women's health and rights

The US Supreme Court has overturned Roe v. Wade in the biggest blow to women's health and rights in recent US history, removing 50 years of constitutional protection for abortion across America, meaning individual states will now decide the legality of abortion within their jurisdiction. Twenty-six states, including Mississippi, Oklahoma, Texas and Georgia, are now poised to enact "trigger laws" that will severely limit or ban abortion, putting approximately 40 million women and girls of reproductive age at risk of losing abortion access, with lower-income people and people of color most severely affected.  The patchwork of state abortion bans means those without funds to travel for safe and legal abortion services or access medical abortion pills will be forced underground to unsafe and unregulated methods, with no guarantee of quality of care or aftercare if things go wrong. The devastating rollback of reproductive rights resulted from the Dobbs v. Jackson Women's Health Organization case, a 2018 ruling that banned abortion in Mississippi after 15 weeks of pregnancy. Of the nine federal Supreme Court Justices, six voted to uphold the Mississippi law, effectively overturning Roe v. Wade, and three dissented. Dr Alvaro Bermejo, Director-General of the International Planned Parenthood Federation, said: "The Supreme Court's decision to overturn Roe v. Wade is the biggest blow to women's health and rights in recent US history and an outrageous and devastating conclusion to what was already an unconstitutional removal of life-saving healthcare. "By continuing its unbridled attack on women's bodies and forcing them to carry pregnancies to term, the highest court in the land has reached its lowest point, robbing millions of their liberty, bodily autonomy and freedom – the very values the United States prides itself on. "We know for a fact that banning abortion does not mean fewer abortions and that when abortion bans are enacted, women and pregnant people die, as we have seen across the globe, most recently in Poland. We also know that those who cannot access safe abortion care legally, including medical abortion pills, will be forced into unregulated and unsafe methods, potentially resulting in serious harm or even death and costing lives for decades to come. "The fallout from this calculated decision will also reverberate worldwide, emboldening other anti-abortion, anti-woman and anti-gender movements and impacting other reproductive freedoms. The justices who put their personal beliefs ahead of American will, precedent and law will soon have blood on their hands, and we are devastated for the millions of people who will suffer from this cruel judgment." The overturning of Roe v. Wade also flies in the face of democracy and against the values of those the Supreme Court is meant to represent and protect, with the majority (60%) of Americans supporting Roe v. Wade and 70% believing the decision to end a pregnancy is between a woman or pregnant person and their doctor. Elizabeth Schlachter, Director of Advocacy and US representative for the International Planned Parenthood Federation, said: "The Supreme Court's perilous ruling is not just regressive but also wildly out of step with most Americans, who we know support access to abortion care. It is also at odds with much of the world, where access to abortion is expanding to reach all who need this vital health service. "By overriding the constitutional right to abortion across the US and handing the decision to each state, many parts of the US will now join El Salvador, Nicaragua, and Poland with some of the most restrictive, extremist, and life-threatening bans on abortion care in the world. "But this is not just about the anti-abortion movement in the US; this is concerted and calculated global effort by anti-women, anti-gender, anti-LGBTQI+ conservative and religious, white supremacist extremists, who are using dark money and undemocratic means to deny people their human right to healthcare, equality, bodily autonomy and ultimately, freedom. "With long-held rights under sustained attack, the International Planned Parenthood Federation is imploring governments across the globe to do more to protect democracy and peoples' freedoms from the interference and influence of these extremist groups." The International Planned Parenthood Federation's (IPPF) Member Association, the Planned Parenthood Federation of America (PPFA), continues to provide services to all who need them where legally possible, including via telemedicine for medical abortion pills. IPPF and PPFA will also continue to work around the clock to protect the rights of all people both in the US and globally, fighting extremism at its core and ensuring that women and pregnant people will not be forced to carry a pregnancy or give birth against their will. To help keep abortion legal, safe, and accessible, you can donate to the International Planned Parenthood Federation or Planned Parenthood Federation of America. For media enquiries, please contact Karmen Ivey on [email protected] or [email protected]   About the International Planned Parenthood Federation The International Planned Parenthood Federation (IPPF) is a global service provider and advocate of sexual and reproductive health and rights for all.   For over 65 years, IPPF, through its 118 Member Associations and 15 partners, has delivered high-quality sexual and reproductive healthcare and helped advance sexual rights, especially for people with intersectional and diverse needs that are currently unmet. Our Member Associations and partners are independent organizations that are locally owned, which means the support and care they provide is informed by local expertise and context. We advocate for a world where people are provided with the information they need to make informed decisions about their sexual health and bodies. We stand up and fight for sexual and reproductive rights against those who seek to deny people their human right to bodily autonomy and freedom. We deliver care rooted in rights, respect, and dignity - no matter what.

bans off our bodies
05 May 2022

What is Roe v. Wade? And other questions answered

What is Roe v. Wade?  Roe v. Wade is a landmark Supreme Court decision from 1973 which effectively legalized abortion across all US states.  The case focused on a woman named anonymously at the time as Texan resident Jane Roe, in her case against Henry Wade, District Attorney of Dallas County, Texas. Roe sought an abortion after discovering she was pregnant – however Texan law denied her one because it stated that an abortion would only be permitted if it would save the life of the pregnant person.  Roe’s lawyers argued that she was unable to travel out of the state to obtain an abortion, and that the law – which was vague in its wording – infringed on her constitutional rights. Their case was successfully argued, with Supreme Court judges voting 7-2 in favour of Roe. This set a precedent which effectively legalized abortion in the first trimester of pregnancy nationwide, and protected a pregnant person’s liberty to choose to have an abortion without excessive government restriction. However, in 1992, the Supreme Court revisited and modified Roe v. Wade's rulings in the case of Planned Parenthood v. Casey. This ruling reaffirmed that a woman’s right to choose to have an abortion is constitutionally protected, but scrapped the first trimester standard in favor of a vaguer one based on "fetal viability".    Why is it in the news now? The legalization of abortion in the US has seen numerous challenges over the years since Roe v. Wade, including in the case of Planned Parenthood v. Casey, both of which are federal laws. At the state level, there has been a devastating rollback of abortion access including in Texas, Georgia, and Louisiana. Other states have sought to protect abortion rights without relying on Roe v. Wade, such as Maryland, Connecticut, and California.  The most significant pending case right now is that of Dobbs v. Jackson Women's Health Organization, a 2018 ruling which banned abortion in Mississippi after 15 weeks of pregnancy. This decision is currently being challenged for not being constitutional.  At this moment, Jackson Women’s Health Organization is the only licensed abortion clinic in Mississippi, and if the Supreme Court does not rule in their favour, it will essentially overturn Roe v Wade. 26 states are poised to enact “trigger laws” that will severely limit or ban all together abortion within that state. This would mean that over 36 million people of reproductive age risk losing abortion access, with low income people and people of color most affected.  The final ruling for Dobbs v. Jackson Women's Health Organization is expected in late June or early July 2022. However, on 3 May a leaked draft opinion by Justice Samuel Alito (one of the Supreme Court judges who will vote on this case) suggested that Roe v. Wade will be overturned, a decision which will remove federal constitutional protection for abortion and allow states to decide the legality of abortion within their jurisdiction, which will lead to bans or severe restrictions on legal abortion in states across the US. (Learn more about state laws on abortion.) While this is a deeply concerning development for reproductive freedom, this remains an opinion, not law. At the time of writing, no decision on Dobbs v. Jackson Women's Health Organization has been made, and abortion is still legal in the US. (You can find your local provider here and information about safe at-home medical abortion here).   If Roe v. Wade is overturned, what impact would this have?  We know for a fact that banning abortion does not mean fewer abortions. People who need abortions will find a way and many will be forced to turn to unsafe and unrelated methods that could result in serious harm and even death. Overturning Roe v. Wade would deny women and girls of their liberty, bodily autonomy, and freedom – values that the United States prides itself on – and this decision will harm millions of people for decades to come.  While Roe v. Wade applies to the US, the fallout of its overturning would reverberate around the world. It will embolden other anti-woman and anti-reproductive freedom movements globally to force women and girls through unwanted pregnancies. Therefore, it is crucial for us all, not only the US, that Roe v. Wade remains protected.  What can be done to stop it from being overturned? There is still time for the Supreme Court to make the right decision – one rooted in dignity, liberty, and freedom for all of its citizens seeking safe and legal abortion care. We urge all Supreme Court judges to vote in favour of Jackson Women’s Health Organization, and keep abortion legal, safe, and accessible.  You can play a role by donating to local abortion funds in the US. You can also donate to the Planned Parenthood Federation of America, who are working to make sure the voice of the American people – the majority of whom support Roe v. Wade – is heard, and are keeping health centers open to continue to provide lifesaving care.  IPPF will do all it can to ensure women will not be forced through a pregnancy against their will/consent. Follow us on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook for further updates, and donate to us if you are able to. Can't donate right now? Learn more about the coalition of sexual and reproductive health and rights organizations in the US, and make sure this critical human rights issue doesn’t get forgotten by safely taking part in protests near you, and by talking to your friends, family and other networks about it, both in person and online. Your support is needed now more than ever.    Main image: Abortion rights protest in Washington DC, US – photo by Gayatri Malhotra, Unsplash

Día de Acción Global por la Salud de las Mujeres
28 May 2024

Women's health in the age of climate change

Haz click aquí para leer este texto en español.     Women's health in the age of climate change  By Eugenia López Uribe, IPPF ACRO Regional Director      Can you imagine a world where all women are free to make decisions about their sexuality and well-being?  Gender-based violence, lack of investment in quality health services resulting in limited services, obstructive health workers, insufficient supplies and little or inaccurate information are just some of the barriers women face in accessing their right to sexual and reproductive health. As we commemorate International Day of Action for Women's Health, I would like to emphasise how women's health is further threatened by the climate crisis.   Let’s start by answering what is sexual and reproductive health? When we talk about sexual and reproductive health for women, we mean, among other things, that they can: Have safe and satisfying sex lives. Decide about their reproduction: decide whether they want to be mothers or not, as well as the number and spacing of their children. Decide their sexual and romantic partners. To live and explore their sexual orientation and gender identity with freedom and safety. Access affordable and quality sexuality-related health services.   For women's right to health to be guaranteed, it is vital that they have access to quality, accessible and affordable sexual and reproductive health services. These services should include contraception, prevention and treatment of sexually transmitted infections (STIs), prenatal care, childbirth and postpartum care, sexual violence care and counselling, abortion care, fertility care, cervical cancer prevention and treatment, accurate information, among others. For a variety of reasons, women and girls still face barriers to receiving these services in a comprehensive manner. This is even more complex in the context of the current climate emergency.       How does the climate crisis affect women's access to health? Gender inequalities, poverty, discrimination and the lack of policies that guarantee access to education and health services are factors that limit women's enjoyment of sexual and reproductive health. Today, the consequences of the climate crisis have become an additional obstacle. According to UN data, 80% of people displaced by climate change are women and girls. The gender-differentiated effect cannot go unnoticed.   Here are some examples:  The destruction of critical infrastructure, such as health clinics and transportation routes, caused by extreme weather events can prevent women and girls from reaching health services or make them unavailable to them. In humanitarian response work during emergency situations, sexual and reproductive health services are often underfunded. Because they are not considered priority services, women are forced to go through their pregnancies, childbirths, postpartum and menstrual cycles under the worst conditions.  In addition, research has found significant associations between air pollution and heat exposure and risk pregnancy outcomes, including preterm birth, low birth weight and stillbirth.  Extreme weather events caused by climate change increase the lack of access to clean and safe water. As well as being vital to people's overall health, lack of water presents a profound challenge to menstrual management, pregnancy care, the administration of certain contraceptive methods and the provision of safe abortion.    The climate crisis has many other harmful impacts on women's lives. When women are displaced, they are at greater risk of violence, including sexual violence. Living in emergency camps or crossing migration routes exposes them to dangers such as human trafficking, early and forced marriages and unions, and exploitative labour.  A terrible example is the current crisis in Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil, where massive flooding has forced more than 600,000 people to flee their homes and has affected more than 2.3 million Brazilians. In addition, as of May 25, 165 people have been killed, 130 are missing and 2.1 million people have been affected. Gestos, IPPF's Collaborating Partner in Brazil, notes with indignation and concern in this statement the cases of sexual violence against women - including minors - in shelters.         An urgent call to action   At this moment in history, we all understand that inequalities and marginalisation are key factors that increase vulnerability to the impacts of the climate crisis. Addressing gender inequality and other forms of marginalisation is therefore crucial in the context of the current climate emergency.  A key tool for doing so is to mandate governments to implement the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction, which articulates with the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and explicitly targets access to reproductive health services among important measures to improve resilience and empower people disproportionately affected by disasters. This declaration, also signed in 2015 by UN Member States, commits ‘to promote universal access to Sexual and Reproductive Health services with a view to fostering healthy societies.    Thus, on this International Day of Action for Women's Health, we call on governments to remind them it is urgent to invest in strengthening resilience and adaptive capacity, both to the slow impacts of the climate crisis and to its more immediate effects. We need to prioritize women, youth and girls in all their diversity, as they are the ones who bear the weight of the crisis.     At IPPF, we are committed to, and are making significant progress to:   Strengthen evidence linking Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights and the climate crisis; Support communities to adapt to the impacts of the crisis;    Reduce our own carbon footprint and the impacts of our internal policies.    However, our efforts as a Federation and as part of civil society alliances will not be enough. Governments and decision-makers must recognise and support access to sexual and reproductive health and rights as fundamental to climate change adaptation and resilience. It is imperative that they place human rights, environmental justice and gender equality at the centre of efforts to address the climate crisis.   We must address today the responsibility of countries to reduce their emissions and advocate for low- and middle-income countries to have the financial conditions necessary to respond and adapt to the climate crisis. Women and girls can wait no longer.        This text was written by Eugenia López Uribe, Regional Director at IPPF ACRO. Eugenia is an experienced advocate for gender equality and sexual and reproductive rights, promoting innovation in the delivery of health services from a human rights perspective. She has worked with rural and indigenous people, adolescents, youth, LGBTQI+ populations, sex workers and women with HIV in Latin America and the Caribbean.

The power of pleasure in your hands- masturbation may
21 May 2024

Reclaiming our power to pleasure ourselves

Haz click aquí para leer este texto en español. When was the last time you erotically touched your body to pleasure yourself?    Months ago? Today? Was it the last time you were alone at home? Do you remember? Let's speak without shame or fear: masturbation is  gooooood. Some people do it to get off, others to sleep better, others to prepare the scene for more sexual activities with partners. The reason doesn’t matter, May is the month dedicated to Masturbation, so it is a good time to take a deeper dive into it.   The perfect touch  Masturbation is the erotic stimulation of our bodies, more specifically, the genitals. We can do it with our hands, pillows, sex-toys and many other ways. Our creativity is our limit. And we can do it alone or by allowing other people to do it for us. Through masturbation, we can learn about our body, what arouses us, what we like and what we don’t.   It is also a great way to feel sexual pleasure.  The purpose can vary. There are people who don't feel ready to have sex and there are times when we don't want to be with other people. It doesn’t matter. With or without a partner, the reason that makes us want to masturbate is that it can give us a lot of pleasure. Yes! It feels good.   We feel pleasure when we touch ourselves, when we find our own right movement and the level of pressure to fill our nervous system with the “happy hormones” – endorphins, serotonin, dopamine, and oxytocin. That’s why masturbating is good not only at that moment, but also after the orgasm, helping us to lower the stress, to block pain, and to relax throughout the day. Moreover, allowing ourselves to achieve this level of pleasure is a firm sign that we are taking good care of our body and mind.       Reclaiming our power to pleasure ourselves  Picture this: you walk into your favourite coffee shop, straightforward to the counter and very sure of yourself and you order your preferred drink, whatever it is. You choose the beverage, the size, the syrup flavour, the sweetener, and temperature. You pay the bill and wait at the end of the counter. They call out your name and, finally, you take that first sip that you desired so much. What does it taste like? How does it feel?   There are few things that can compare to this feeling, the empowerment that comes with asking exactly for what you want--- and getting it.   In a coffee shop, in life, and in sexual practices, getting to the point where you know exactly what you want can be a little tricky, and sometimes it takes time. Masturbation is a journey to understand our sexual preferences and desires. Claiming our power to pleasure ourselves is about adding more possibilities rather than only experiencing it with others. It’s about developing the power of knowing what works best for us and being able to make it happen.  Let’s not forget that pleasure is also a political issue, which has to do with our right to our bodies. Hence, masturbation is too. Societies often feel geared towards norms and end up imposing impose shame, fear and misinformation about masturbation. In many countries and cultures our sexuality has been turned into a taboo. However, acts of self-enjoyment, like masturbation, can be a form of resistance against this system. By reclaiming our time and our bodies, and the use of both for our pure pleasure, we recover our right to decide about our lives.       An act of self-care  Self-care has been addressed in different ways over time. Recently, mostly due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, it has been used to refer to acts of self-enjoyment, hobbies, and new habits, such as adopting organic food, exercise practices, greater water intake, and encouraging a more positive and healthy way of living.  And YES, we’re here for it. This rise of the self-care movement has underpinned the importance of carrying out activities that centre our well-being.  Masturbation then, encompasses self-care very well.  Besides reducing the stress and improving sleep, it also boosts our immunity system, and it is linked to lower prostate cancer in people with penis and reduced risk of urinary infections in people with vulvas, while also improving cognitive functioning and self-image.  And let’s not forget: pleasure is also a vital aspect of our mental and physical well-being.   Along with masturbation, there’s other decisions and acts we can take to achieve our pleasure and self-care, such as making informed decisions on the contraceptive method that best suits our needs, planning on reproductive choices, on our career, and on leisure activities, as well as deciding on having abortions or continuing pregnancies when we’re faced with a positive pregnancy test.   Did you ever think about it?  Finishing off  Masturbation is an act of pleasure, but also a reminder that you are the expert: what feels right and what doesn’t is up to you. You have - literally- the power in your hands.  In bed, or in society, alone, in a group or with a partner, you will always be the one who knows what is the best for you. 😉 Happy Masturbation May! 

March News Round-Up
01 April 2024

March News Round-Up

IPPF ACRO participates in the C20 Conception Meeting in Brazil. Kamilah Morain, Director of Member Association Support and Development at ACRO, participated in the inaugural meeting of the C20 Engagement Group in Recife, Brazil. This group plans and proposes policies for the upcoming G20 forum, which will take place in November 2024, focusing on issues such as health and education. As the co-facilitator of the Women's Rights and Gender Equality working group, she will, on behalf of IPPF ACRO, seek to ensure that the voices of women and girls are heard by the G20 leaders. This is crucial because the G20 represents a large portion of the global economy and trade.   Profamilia ready to host the Seventh International Conference on Family Planning in November 2025. For the first time in history, the International Conference on Family Planning (ICFP) will be held in Latin America, and Profamilia Colombia will be a co-host! Alongside the William H. Gates Sr. Institute for Reproductive Health and Population and the Government of Colombia and the Valle del Lili Foundation, Profamilia will welcome thousands of family planning professionals from November 3rd to 6th, 2025, in Colombia. The ICFP serves as a gathering point for governments, institutions, researchers, activists, and professionals seeking to promote collaboration and innovation in sexual and reproductive health. On this occasion, Colombia has been chosen as the venue due to the government's commitment and the efforts of social movements that have resulted in significant advances in access to sexual and reproductive health for Colombian people. See you there!   Gestos succeeds in canceling the HIV and other STI testing requirement in the city of Lagoa do Carro, Brazil. Thanks to a complaint from Gestos' legal team, and in collaboration with Caop Cidadania and the Public Ministry of Carpina, the municipal government of Lagoa do Carro canceled the requirement to undergo HIV, Syphilis, and Hepatitis B and C testing in its contests. This significant victory for human rights and the advancement of sexual and reproductive health is a reminder that demanding STI test results is a discriminatory practice that violates human rights. Furthermore, in Brazil, the right to confidentiality is guaranteed by law. Congratulations to the Gestos team for their hard work in guaranteeing the rights of people living with HIV!   Kamala Harris visits a Planned Parenthood clinic and becomes the first Vice President of the United States to visit an abortion clinic. The sixth stop on Vice President Kamala Harris's "Fighting for Reproductive Freedom" Tour was a Planned Parenthood abortion clinic. It has been a great opportunity for the Vice President to see the great work that Planned Parenthood does every day to provide sexual and reproductive health care, including safe abortion. In the months leading up to the presidential elections, she has positioned herself as an advocate for access to abortion in a complicated context following the Supreme Court's recent decisions on this issue. "It is right and just that people have access to the health care they need," Kamala Harris said at a press conference.   If you want to receive SRHR news directly from the ground to your inbox, subscribe to our newsletter "Rising the Tide". Subscribe

Chicas colombianas en la calle con pañuelos verdes apoyando la decriminalización del aborto
21 February 2024

Two years of a historic decision

Two years ago, Colombia took a historic step on a path that has been trodden for decades by thousands of women and whose goal has always been equity, guaranteed rights and recognition of their full citizenship. Two years ago, abortion permeated our society with the force of solid arguments that demanded its guarantee as a matter of human rights, public health and social justice.  Two years ago, a sentence by Annie Ernaux, Nobel Prize in Literature (2022) echoed in my head because of the power and significance of the coincidence that reminded us that: "the impossibility of imagining that one day women could decide to have an abortion freely" had ended in Colombia with Ruling 055 of 2022. It only took a few months to prove that the Constitutional Court was right in its decision, that the decriminalisation of abortion was the way forward, and that the weighting of women's rights brings us ever closer to that society with true gender equality for which so many of us are working. You got it right, Court! At the time, one of the main arguments used by opponents of decriminalising abortion in the country was that the 24-week time limit was too long, which would mean that women and pregnant women would wait until they reached the maximum permitted limit to have an abortion. The truth is that no woman, of her own free will and intention, would seek to continue her pregnancy in order to terminate it at advanced gestational age. On the contrary, the balance of the first two years indicates that 9 out of 10 abortions performed at Profamilia were performed before the 12th week of gestation, that is, 92% of the total number of voluntary terminations of pregnancy were performed in the first trimester and by means of medication. It was a good decision, Court! The same balance sheet shows an 18.7% increase in the number of abortions in the last two years, and not because women are having more abortions for the sake of it. The increase, as well as being expected, is positive because it represents the registration in the system of those who without decriminalisation would have resorted to unsafe, clandestine procedures that would put their lives at risk, but today, at least under the law, can do so legally, safely and with the opportunity to do so.

1 ano colombia
21 February 2023

1 year anniversary of the historic decision to decriminalize abortion in Colombia

1 year anniversary of the historic decision to decriminalize abortion in Colombia February 21, 2023 Profamilia – an IPPF Member Association and a leading organization in the defence and guarantee of Sexual and Reproductive Rights in Colombia - celebrates the first year of the Constitutional Court decision that allowed the decriminalization of abortion in Colombia up to 24 weeks of gestation. This represents a historic step for the guarantee of the rights of women and pregnant people in the country and Latin America, as well as a transcendental advance towards the recognition of their autonomy and full citizenship. Thanks to the ruling, those who are faced with an unwanted pregnancy and decide to have an abortion will not be prosecuted or criminalized for accessing what is now considered a health service and a matter of social justice. Similarly, the organization recognizes the issuance of Resolution 051 of 2023, with which the Ministry of Health regulates comprehensive care to provide abortion services throughout Colombia. This resolution recognizes that both women and pregnant people (transgender men, trans masculinities, non-binary people, among others) can access the service without restrictions and reiterates that abortion is an essential and urgent health service that must be guaranteed and not suspended. Since its enactment, Profamilia has guaranteed the implementation of Ruling C-055 of 2022 in its network of more than 53 clinics specialized in sexual and reproductive health nationwide.  In this sense, the Organization shares with public opinion an analysis of what has been evidenced in the first year of the Sentence, as well as recommendations to move towards a society that respects and guarantees the application of the current jurisprudence in favour of the rights and reproductive autonomy of women and pregnant people in the country. The Positive side: Decriminalization increases access and engagement ·   Women, trans men and non-binary people who decide to terminate their pregnancies do so early. During this first year, 97.2% of the abortions performed through Profamilia were performed before the 16th week of gestation and of these, 86% before the 12th week and only 1.1% of the procedures were performed after 24 weeks, under one of the grounds of Ruling C-355 of 2006. ·   After Ruling C-055, access to safe abortion has improved. The Organization recorded a 65.9% increase in procedures. This information coincides with evidence from other countries (Uruguay, France, Portugal, Spain, Mexico City, Mexico) in which, after the legalization of voluntary interruption of pregnancy, there is no long-term increase in procedures, but rather an initial increase that then stabilizes and even decreases. ·   Profamilia has strengthened its MIA service, which accompanies and performs self-managed abortions up to 12 weeks of gestation through telemedicine. This service has reached women who wish to terminate their pregnancies in hard-to-reach municipalities such as: Leticia, in Amazonas, Bahía Solano, in Chocó, San Vicente del Caguán, in Caquetá, Dibulla, in La Guajira, among others. ·   Different authorities have fulfilled their obligations and reiterated their commitment to abortion rights. In August 2022, the National Government, through the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, communicated that Colombia officially withdrew from the Geneva Consensus Declaration - recognized for seeking to undermine reproductive autonomy and family diversity - and reiterated that the country recognizes, respects and protects the sexual and reproductive rights of women and girls and that, in accordance with the Political Constitution and the jurisprudence of the Constitutional Court, the right to legal and safe abortion is an integral and indivisible part of sexual and reproductive rights and health. ·   Resolution 051 of 2023 of the Ministry of Health guarantees the service for migrant women in Colombia and recognizes this right as an essential and urgent service that can never be suspended. It also eliminates co-payments and moderating fees in EPS and medical centers. It reaffirms that minors under 14 years of age may decide autonomously about an abortion, without their parents' permission and even when their decision is contrary to their parents'. The resolution urges to modernize the protocols as an advance for the welfare of women and pregnant people. ·   On February 2, 2023, the Council of Bogota approved Agreement 023, which aims to guarantee the right to abortion without barriers and promote knowledge and access to information on rights and prevention of early motherhood and fatherhood, which not only impacts the right to health, but also strengthens the sector and becomes a benchmark for other cities in the country in the commitment they must make to ensure access to abortion as a health service. ·   The National Development Plan for the period 2022-2026 included the guarantee of the right to abortion (Voluntary Interruption of Pregnancy) in the framework of the formulation and implementation of the National Policy on Sexuality, Sexual and Reproductive Rights that must be updated for the next 10 years, with this it is possible to ensure resources to promote the materialization of all measures and actions to ensure the guarantee of the right to abortion in Colombia. Still concerning: Barriers and violence persist ·   Despite Ruling C-055 of 2022, Profamilia has received users, with less than 24 weeks of gestation, who report having encountered barriers in health professionals who have limited the right and service of abortion. ·   On the other hand, Profamilia's statistics on the provision of IVE (Voluntary Interruption of Pregnancy) services in its network of clinics throughout the country reveal a worrying increase in sexual violence against minors under 14 years of age, with an increase from 47.3% in 2021 to 2022. This data coincides, unfortunately, with the report of the National Institute of Legal Medicine and Forensic Sciences which indicates that there was a 23% increase by 2022 of sexual crimes against minors, compared to previous year. ·   The legalization of abortion in Colombia has shown limitations in the quality of services, it is essential to eliminate all forms of discrimination and violence, training and sensitization of health personnel, the elimination of curettage as the main technique and the definitive closure of sites where unsafe procedures are practiced. What are the challenges? ·   It is necessary to fully comply with the orders of Ruling C-055 of 2022. That is why it is essential to support the approval of legislative and public policy initiatives that seek the implementation and strengthening of Comprehensive Sexuality Education in all educational institutions in the country, in order to prevent gender-based violence, promote the safe and responsible exercise of sexual and reproductive autonomy, knowledge and empowerment in rights, effective and timely access to contraceptive methods, as well as the search for a society with gender equity. ·   With the management of abortion as a public health issue, the country has the possibility of ending the preventable death of 70 women who lose their lives each year due to unsafe abortions, as well as reducing and avoiding 132,000 complications derived from this type of procedure. The legalization of abortion represents the opportunity to place the protection of the health and lives of girls and women at the center as the main objective of all public health policy. ·   The elimination of barriers to access to safe abortion services should be a priority for local health authorities, who are responsible for the inspection, surveillance and control of the health system in their jurisdictions. It is necessary to implement intersectoral mechanisms for follow-up and monitoring of barriers and technical accompaniment of health care providers to ensure an orderly and systematized implementation of the jurisprudence of the Constitutional Court and the regulatory norms that have been issued. ·   Territorial entities, at all levels, must take the initiative and leadership to make sexual and reproductive rights a reality in their jurisdictions. The example of the Bogotá Council and its agreement on the elimination of barriers to safe abortion is an example of how local measures can be adopted to facilitate the implementation of constitutional and regulatory mandates on abortion with actions. "After one year it is possible to see the progress, the country has made in terms of reproductive autonomy and rights for women and pregnant people. However, we must move from text to action, ensuring that Ruling 055 of 2022 is implemented. Profamilia's commitment will always be to provide comprehensive, humanized and safe services that allow free and informed decision making, and we reiterate this today,” said Marta Royo, Executive Director of Profamilia. “Colombia has set a standard for the region, women and pregnant people deserves to choose the best decision for them and their families. In IPPF we are committed to grow the green wave to ensure that all the countries have equal rights for all, especially in Central America and the Caribbean“ said Eugenia López Uribe, Regional Director of IPPF for the Americas and The Caribbean.  

Photography by Wara Vargas Lara for IPPF - Bolivia s28 2022
20 February 2023

On this World Day Of Social Justice we call for the protection of ALL activists

On this World Day Of Social Justice, we demand that states be proactive in Overcoming Barriers and Unleashing Opportunities for Social Justice.  In 2022 activists won a major victory with the decriminalization of abortion in Colombia, reminding us that despite the obstacles in much of the region there is hope as the green wave spreads thanks to grassroots activism everywhere. In The Caribbean, physical and sexual violence towards trans people often goes unreported as there are no legal mechanisms to acknowledge a change in gender markers - which in itself is a form of violence. And even with arguably some of the largest activist populations both Brazil and Mexico remained the most violent places for Trans people to live in 2022. The United States is the third most dangerous, a statistic which may well increase given the record number of 300+ anti-LGBTQ+ legislation which has been introduced in the first two months of 2023.       Despite all of these challenges, LGBTQI+ communities across the region continue to be at the forefront of movements and activism across the region. Local Caribbean activists saw their hard work rewarded in the repeal of colonial-era laws banning same-sex intimacy in 3 countries - Saint Kitts and Nevis, Antigua and Barbuda, and Barbados in 2022.  These activists must be protected in order to continue their fight for rights and justice.  There are solutions that include all of us, and all eyes are on the governments of our region to provide protection from discrimination and violence.  

dr

Statement on the Penal Code of The Dominican Republic

15 February 2023  For immediate release: Statement on the Penal Code of The Dominican Republic  International Planned Parenthood Federation - Americas and The Caribbean Regional Office (IPPF ACRO)  Two decades' worth of attempts by national feminist movements to reform the Dominican Republic's brutal Criminal Code has failed. The Caribbean country is one of the five countries in the world where ending a pregnancy is strictly prohibited under any circumstances. Abortion is now the third leading cause of maternal death in the country. The current Criminal Code dates back to 1884 and despite the Chamber of Deputies approving a revision to the Criminal Code in 2014 to allow abortion in the following three circumstances: where the pregnancy poses a risk to the life of a pregnant person, where the fetus could not survive outside the womb, and where the pregnancy is the result of rape or incest. The revision was struck down by the Constitutional Court in 2015. Despite President Luis Abinader vocal support of decriminalising support in certain circumstances, the decision today fails all pregnant people and will undoubtedly force more to turn to unsafe abortion methods that could be fatal.   Eugenia Lopez Uribe – IPPF Americas and Caribbean Regional Director said: “ For twenty years the strong feminist movements in the Dominican Republic have fought to reform the barbaric Criminal Code that denies pregnant people access to safe and legal abortion. The Criminal Code is 140 years old, it did not serve the population then and it does not serve them now. IPPF will continue to stand side by side with the movement in the Dominican Republic to fight for reform, freedom and justice. All people must have the freedom to decide what happens to their body and that includes being able to end a pregnancy safely. Noone should have to die because of this Criminal Code that has caused so much harm and death.”  IPPF - Americas and the Caribbean Regional Office stands in firm solidarity with the people of Dominican Republic and the feminist movements as we continue to fight for bodily autonomy, freedom, and reproductive justice. We acknowledge the enormous contribution of the Dominican leadership to the social justice movements in the region including the struggle for racial justice.  

green globe
08 July 2022

Statement: Antigua and Barbuda to re-examine abortion laws

For immediate release:  Antigua Planned Parenthood Association (APPA) / International Planned Parenthood Federation - Americas and The Caribbean Regional Office (IPPF ACRO) Statement on the government of Antigua and Barbuda re-examining abortion laws.    As the government announces a re-examination of existing abortion laws in Antigua and Barbuda the Antigua Planned Parenthood Association (APPA) is pleased that policymakers have heard the call of millions of women worldwide in the wake of the detrimental ruling of Roe vs. Wade in the U.S.A.   Access to abortion has been criminalized in Antigua and Barbuda since 1895, however, the government has acknowledged that the legal status has not prevented abortions with Chief of Staff in the Office of the Prime Minister, Lionel Hurst, commenting “We know that it is better to have it done by a doctor than the practice used by some of having non-professionals engaged in this system – because it can cause permanent damage”.  The recognition that the current legislation has caused more harm than good, is certainly an encouraging first step toward the right to bodily autonomy for the women and girls in the country.   “In our local context, the laws which criminalize abortion do not prevent the practice but certainly restrict access to safe and timely medical care. Decriminalizing abortion care would mean access to often life-saving care is a reality for women in Antigua and Barbuda.” - Lyndale Weaver-Greenaway, Executive Director at Antigua Planned Parenthood Association    The mission of the Antigua Planned Parenthood Association (APPA), established in 1970, is “to advance the sexual and reproductive well-being of the Antiguan and Barbudan population by providing safe, efficient, and affordable sexual and reproductive health services including family planning”  Dona Da Cosa Martinez, Deputy Regional Director of International Planned Parenthood Federation (IPPF) Americas and The Caribbean Regional Office commends the government's recognition of the need for re-examination of restrictive laws that do more harm than good for its citizens., “Antigua and Barbuda are now at the height of making the changes which are necessary to ensure the protection and fulfillment of the human rights of all its citizens to have full access to reproductive care, and in doing so, establishing a precedent for the rest of the Caribbean to follow. Now is the time for regional leaders to ensure free and full access to safe abortion care in all their countries.”    The Antigua Planned Parenthood Association (APPA) is an Associate Member of the International Planned Parenthood Federation (IPPF), a movement of 120 autonomous members with a presence in over 146 countries. Member Associations provide non-profit family planning services, sexual health, and abuse prevention training and education. IPPF’s goals include giving clients the information necessary to make informed sexual health decisions, promoting continuous sexual health, and making high-quality sexual health services available.  

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US Supreme Court overturns Roe v Wade in devastating blow to women's health and rights

The US Supreme Court has overturned Roe v. Wade in the biggest blow to women's health and rights in recent US history, removing 50 years of constitutional protection for abortion across America, meaning individual states will now decide the legality of abortion within their jurisdiction. Twenty-six states, including Mississippi, Oklahoma, Texas and Georgia, are now poised to enact "trigger laws" that will severely limit or ban abortion, putting approximately 40 million women and girls of reproductive age at risk of losing abortion access, with lower-income people and people of color most severely affected.  The patchwork of state abortion bans means those without funds to travel for safe and legal abortion services or access medical abortion pills will be forced underground to unsafe and unregulated methods, with no guarantee of quality of care or aftercare if things go wrong. The devastating rollback of reproductive rights resulted from the Dobbs v. Jackson Women's Health Organization case, a 2018 ruling that banned abortion in Mississippi after 15 weeks of pregnancy. Of the nine federal Supreme Court Justices, six voted to uphold the Mississippi law, effectively overturning Roe v. Wade, and three dissented. Dr Alvaro Bermejo, Director-General of the International Planned Parenthood Federation, said: "The Supreme Court's decision to overturn Roe v. Wade is the biggest blow to women's health and rights in recent US history and an outrageous and devastating conclusion to what was already an unconstitutional removal of life-saving healthcare. "By continuing its unbridled attack on women's bodies and forcing them to carry pregnancies to term, the highest court in the land has reached its lowest point, robbing millions of their liberty, bodily autonomy and freedom – the very values the United States prides itself on. "We know for a fact that banning abortion does not mean fewer abortions and that when abortion bans are enacted, women and pregnant people die, as we have seen across the globe, most recently in Poland. We also know that those who cannot access safe abortion care legally, including medical abortion pills, will be forced into unregulated and unsafe methods, potentially resulting in serious harm or even death and costing lives for decades to come. "The fallout from this calculated decision will also reverberate worldwide, emboldening other anti-abortion, anti-woman and anti-gender movements and impacting other reproductive freedoms. The justices who put their personal beliefs ahead of American will, precedent and law will soon have blood on their hands, and we are devastated for the millions of people who will suffer from this cruel judgment." The overturning of Roe v. Wade also flies in the face of democracy and against the values of those the Supreme Court is meant to represent and protect, with the majority (60%) of Americans supporting Roe v. Wade and 70% believing the decision to end a pregnancy is between a woman or pregnant person and their doctor. Elizabeth Schlachter, Director of Advocacy and US representative for the International Planned Parenthood Federation, said: "The Supreme Court's perilous ruling is not just regressive but also wildly out of step with most Americans, who we know support access to abortion care. It is also at odds with much of the world, where access to abortion is expanding to reach all who need this vital health service. "By overriding the constitutional right to abortion across the US and handing the decision to each state, many parts of the US will now join El Salvador, Nicaragua, and Poland with some of the most restrictive, extremist, and life-threatening bans on abortion care in the world. "But this is not just about the anti-abortion movement in the US; this is concerted and calculated global effort by anti-women, anti-gender, anti-LGBTQI+ conservative and religious, white supremacist extremists, who are using dark money and undemocratic means to deny people their human right to healthcare, equality, bodily autonomy and ultimately, freedom. "With long-held rights under sustained attack, the International Planned Parenthood Federation is imploring governments across the globe to do more to protect democracy and peoples' freedoms from the interference and influence of these extremist groups." The International Planned Parenthood Federation's (IPPF) Member Association, the Planned Parenthood Federation of America (PPFA), continues to provide services to all who need them where legally possible, including via telemedicine for medical abortion pills. IPPF and PPFA will also continue to work around the clock to protect the rights of all people both in the US and globally, fighting extremism at its core and ensuring that women and pregnant people will not be forced to carry a pregnancy or give birth against their will. To help keep abortion legal, safe, and accessible, you can donate to the International Planned Parenthood Federation or Planned Parenthood Federation of America. For media enquiries, please contact Karmen Ivey on [email protected] or [email protected]   About the International Planned Parenthood Federation The International Planned Parenthood Federation (IPPF) is a global service provider and advocate of sexual and reproductive health and rights for all.   For over 65 years, IPPF, through its 118 Member Associations and 15 partners, has delivered high-quality sexual and reproductive healthcare and helped advance sexual rights, especially for people with intersectional and diverse needs that are currently unmet. Our Member Associations and partners are independent organizations that are locally owned, which means the support and care they provide is informed by local expertise and context. We advocate for a world where people are provided with the information they need to make informed decisions about their sexual health and bodies. We stand up and fight for sexual and reproductive rights against those who seek to deny people their human right to bodily autonomy and freedom. We deliver care rooted in rights, respect, and dignity - no matter what.

bans off our bodies
05 May 2022

What is Roe v. Wade? And other questions answered

What is Roe v. Wade?  Roe v. Wade is a landmark Supreme Court decision from 1973 which effectively legalized abortion across all US states.  The case focused on a woman named anonymously at the time as Texan resident Jane Roe, in her case against Henry Wade, District Attorney of Dallas County, Texas. Roe sought an abortion after discovering she was pregnant – however Texan law denied her one because it stated that an abortion would only be permitted if it would save the life of the pregnant person.  Roe’s lawyers argued that she was unable to travel out of the state to obtain an abortion, and that the law – which was vague in its wording – infringed on her constitutional rights. Their case was successfully argued, with Supreme Court judges voting 7-2 in favour of Roe. This set a precedent which effectively legalized abortion in the first trimester of pregnancy nationwide, and protected a pregnant person’s liberty to choose to have an abortion without excessive government restriction. However, in 1992, the Supreme Court revisited and modified Roe v. Wade's rulings in the case of Planned Parenthood v. Casey. This ruling reaffirmed that a woman’s right to choose to have an abortion is constitutionally protected, but scrapped the first trimester standard in favor of a vaguer one based on "fetal viability".    Why is it in the news now? The legalization of abortion in the US has seen numerous challenges over the years since Roe v. Wade, including in the case of Planned Parenthood v. Casey, both of which are federal laws. At the state level, there has been a devastating rollback of abortion access including in Texas, Georgia, and Louisiana. Other states have sought to protect abortion rights without relying on Roe v. Wade, such as Maryland, Connecticut, and California.  The most significant pending case right now is that of Dobbs v. Jackson Women's Health Organization, a 2018 ruling which banned abortion in Mississippi after 15 weeks of pregnancy. This decision is currently being challenged for not being constitutional.  At this moment, Jackson Women’s Health Organization is the only licensed abortion clinic in Mississippi, and if the Supreme Court does not rule in their favour, it will essentially overturn Roe v Wade. 26 states are poised to enact “trigger laws” that will severely limit or ban all together abortion within that state. This would mean that over 36 million people of reproductive age risk losing abortion access, with low income people and people of color most affected.  The final ruling for Dobbs v. Jackson Women's Health Organization is expected in late June or early July 2022. However, on 3 May a leaked draft opinion by Justice Samuel Alito (one of the Supreme Court judges who will vote on this case) suggested that Roe v. Wade will be overturned, a decision which will remove federal constitutional protection for abortion and allow states to decide the legality of abortion within their jurisdiction, which will lead to bans or severe restrictions on legal abortion in states across the US. (Learn more about state laws on abortion.) While this is a deeply concerning development for reproductive freedom, this remains an opinion, not law. At the time of writing, no decision on Dobbs v. Jackson Women's Health Organization has been made, and abortion is still legal in the US. (You can find your local provider here and information about safe at-home medical abortion here).   If Roe v. Wade is overturned, what impact would this have?  We know for a fact that banning abortion does not mean fewer abortions. People who need abortions will find a way and many will be forced to turn to unsafe and unrelated methods that could result in serious harm and even death. Overturning Roe v. Wade would deny women and girls of their liberty, bodily autonomy, and freedom – values that the United States prides itself on – and this decision will harm millions of people for decades to come.  While Roe v. Wade applies to the US, the fallout of its overturning would reverberate around the world. It will embolden other anti-woman and anti-reproductive freedom movements globally to force women and girls through unwanted pregnancies. Therefore, it is crucial for us all, not only the US, that Roe v. Wade remains protected.  What can be done to stop it from being overturned? There is still time for the Supreme Court to make the right decision – one rooted in dignity, liberty, and freedom for all of its citizens seeking safe and legal abortion care. We urge all Supreme Court judges to vote in favour of Jackson Women’s Health Organization, and keep abortion legal, safe, and accessible.  You can play a role by donating to local abortion funds in the US. You can also donate to the Planned Parenthood Federation of America, who are working to make sure the voice of the American people – the majority of whom support Roe v. Wade – is heard, and are keeping health centers open to continue to provide lifesaving care.  IPPF will do all it can to ensure women will not be forced through a pregnancy against their will/consent. Follow us on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook for further updates, and donate to us if you are able to. Can't donate right now? Learn more about the coalition of sexual and reproductive health and rights organizations in the US, and make sure this critical human rights issue doesn’t get forgotten by safely taking part in protests near you, and by talking to your friends, family and other networks about it, both in person and online. Your support is needed now more than ever.    Main image: Abortion rights protest in Washington DC, US – photo by Gayatri Malhotra, Unsplash