To combat maternal mortality rates in Southeast Asia far higher than Millennium Development Goal targets, governments must ensure women’s right to safe abortion.
An estimated one million illegal abortions occur in Brazil each year, yet very few women have ever been imprisoned on for seeking abortion care. That may be about to change. In April, officials took a brisk departure from the nation’s relative “tolerance” of illegal abortion practice, arresting the head of a two decade-old family planning clinic for providing abortions and seizing the medical records of nearly 10,000 women.
Women on Waves is now providing safe abortions off the coast of Ecuador, focusing attention on the reproductive justice activists fighting against a society that has strictly criminalized abortion.
In Dakar, word on the street is that surgical abortion can kill you, and the link between abortion and fatality defines Senegal’s reproductive reality.
After more than a hundred years of legally allowing women access to a therapeutic abortion, in October 2006 the Nicaraguan National Assembly banned this procedure in all circumstances. Now women’s health groups are working to mitigate the damage.
In Zimbabwe, abortion, except in cases of rape, incest, fetal impairment, or to preserve a woman’s health, is illegal – and if caught, women face jail terms. As a result, many women resort to clandestine, unsafe and life-threatening abortion methods.