For more than a decade, September 28 has been celebrated in many countries as the International Safe Abortion Day. The tradition of this day, however, goes back to 1990, when in South America this day served for advocacy campaigns on the decriminalization of abortion. The Federation for Women and Family Planning has been celebrating this special day from the very beginning as part of the international movement for legal and affordable abortion.
World Safe Abortion Day – 2020 edition
Every year, hundreds of organizations throughout the world coordinate the International Campaign for Women’s Right to Safe Abortion.
This year’s motto is access to abortion through telemedicine and home abortions, and the impact of the pandemic on the availability of this necessary health service. The main hashtags are #IManageMyAbortion #28Sept
Every day 150,000 unwanted pregnancies are terminated in the world. The overwhelming evidence shows that self-managed termination of pregnancy with the use of pills is a safe and effective abortion method. Abortion pills are listed as essential medications by the World Health Organization as one of the most needed substances in the health system. Despite this, as many as 41% of women in the world live in countries where access to abortion is severely limited by law and practice. Poland also belongs to this infamous group.
Therefore, the International Safe Abortion Day is an occasion for organizations from countries that criminalize abortion to remind about the necessity of liberalization of restrictive laws. And to provide evidence of the tragic effects of these laws. Tabooing, stigmatizing and over-medicalizing abortion generate health and social costs that are disproportionately incurred by women and their families. As history and the current reality show, bans do not eliminate abortion, but interfere with the right to bodily autonomy, dignity and freedom.
Abortion must be legal, realistically available and free. According to the recommendations of the World Health Organization, it means:
- facilitating access through remote medical consultations,
- allowing pharmacists, midwives and nurses to issue prescriptions,
- easier delivery methods of pills etc.
Such solutions are particularly important in the times of pandemic. Breaking down barriers of access to abortion is beneficial for both patients and healthcare professionals.
Federation’s activities for the International Safe Abortion Day
Abortion pills – we speak about the facts.
In the spirit of this year’s International Safe Abortion Day, we will be disseminating our new brochure on self-managed abortion with pills. This guide is based on current scientific research and recommendations of the World Health Organization (WHO). This guide is an update and continues the Federation’s first brochure on medical abortion from 2010. We hope those interested in this method and reproductive health find this materials useful.
“Pro-abortion law & justice” campaign
A new campaign by the Federation for Women and Family Planning is launched under the slogan “Pro-abortion law & justice”. Its aim is to sensitize public opinion to the need to liberalize and decriminalize abortion.
The hashtags of this action are #proaborcyjnePiS #AborcjaLegalnaDostępnaDarmowa #WykreślićAborcjęzKodeksuKarnego #LekarzDoPacjentkiNieDoWięzienia
As a part of this social campaign, from September 16 to October 2, “pro-abortion law & justice” citylights will appear in 20 Warsaw locations, promoting the Federation’s manifesto. The manifest can be signed online.
Watch our international advocacy coordinator recite the manifesto
There is no democracy without the ability to decide about one’s own life and health.
There is no justice without free, evidence-based and ideology-free medical care.
There is no freedom without access to abortion.
Abortion ban means forced births.
State violence against all of us.
Reproductive justice requires abortion to be legal, accessible and free.
Law should serve people, not fundamentalists who impose suffering in the name of ideology.
We demand a dignified life, without fear that the state will force us to continue the pregnancy, and put in prison a doctor or a friend.
In the twenty-first century, personal autonomy cannot depend on wealth.
Decisions about parenting belong to us. Only us.
Human rights do not break families, but the hypocrisy cultivated by extremists – the approach favoured by the current government.
We expect systemic changes!
The state has a duty to take care of us, not control us.
The state has a duty to let us decide.
To provide us with modern medical care based on science, not ideology.
Regardless of status, citizenship, place of residence or family situation …
Anyone who publishes a photo of himself/herself with a citylight, hashtag # AborcjaLegalnaDostępnaDarmowa and tag @federapl on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter will take part in the competition. You can include your story, the story of a loved one or just write what you think about the restrictive abortion laws.
Should the laws interfere so much in our private life?
What reproductive justice means for you? Share with us what you think!
Action Decriminalization – or why we should #RemoveAbortionFromTheCriminalCode
Abortion is a personal, intimate experience and a medical service. When it happens with the consent of the pregnant person, helping should not be punished. There are spheres of life where the criminal law regulation should not interfere with. Abortion experience is one of them.
Criminalizing abortion serves one purpose: to make it difficult or even impossible to access abortion both legal and illegal (according to the Polish law). It aims to intimidate, take away the courage to talk about abortion experience and necessary support. Criminalising abortion deprives of the opportunity to consult the decisions or questions about the course of the abortion. This makes the work of doctors difficult and destroys the patients’ trust in medical personnel. Although the Penal Code does not prohibit talking about abortion, it has this effect – it shuts people down and pushes the conversations underground, while the need for abortion does not disappear.
That is why we have a simple and firm postulate: #WykreślićAborcjęzKodeksuKarnego! (#RemoveAbortionFromTheCriminalCode)
As every year, the Federation for Women and Family Planning will speak at the international forum. On September 30, we will our abortion statement on behalf of the Great Coalition for Equality and Choice at the 45th session of the UN Human Rights Council.
Moreover, we are one of the signatories of joint statement on abortion coordinated by the Sexual Rights Initiative which is the coalition the Federation is a part of. The statement is supported by hundreds of human rights organizations from all over the world. Please make your organisation a signatory and share it further!
International Safe Abortion Day was also acknowledged in the film created by the Socialists and Democrats. We invite you to listen our international advocacy coordinator Urszula Grycuk, MEPs Biedroń and Matic, as well as FEMM Chair Evelyn Regner.
On September 29, the director of the Federation appeared in the Center for Reproductive Rights webinar with representatives of Doctors for Choice Malty and European Society for Contraception and Sexual Reproductive Health (register here).
In addition, within the ASTRA Network, the Federation participated in an educational campaign on the self-managed abortion and the need to remove barriers for access to abortion,