Women's Voices on 28 September - Global day of action for access to safe and legal abortion

Every day, everywhere women have abortions. In fact, one in three women will have an abortion in their lifetime. Your sister, mother, daughter, partner, friend. Yourself.

However, many countries around the world continue to restrict access to safe and legal abortion. Globally, 66 countries either prohibit abortion entirely or permit it only to save a woman's life. Approximately one quarter of the world's population resides in these countries.

Too many women still do not have autonomy over their reproductive lives, and are not able to choose to end an unwanted pregnancy under safe conditions with the support of a trained provider.

That is why on September 28, the Global Day of Action for Access to Safe and Legal Abortion, IPPF will join with partners across the world to call for universal access for safe and legal abortion. In our region, from Skopje to Stockholm, Tirana to Dublin, our Member Associations are marking the day with activities ranging from press conferences, advocacy workshops, public debates organised by youth activists and short movie launches to providing information and education materials to schools; dedicated social media campaigns; clinic open day with free sexual and reproductive health services, and appearing in newspapers and TV documentaries to make the case for safe and legal abortion.

Criminalising abortion does not reduce the number of abortions, all it does is push abortion underground and rates of unsafe abortion increase. In fact, the lowest abortion rates in the world are in regions with some of the most liberal legal frameworks for the provision of abortion services.

A woman’s right to safe, legal abortion is under threat in Europe too. The abandoning this week of a regressive anti-abortion bill in Spain is a step in the right direction and an illustration of what can be achieved through the joint action of civil society organisations. But the fact remains it should never have been on the legislature’s books in the first place. It shows that rights can be rolled back at anytime, anywhere.

The women who suffer as a consequence of restrictive laws are not just numbers. Each woman who seeks an abortion does so under a unique set of circumstances. IPPF has produced a series of short films to tell the stories of some of these women. Women like Juliette from France, who just like millions of other women around the world, decided to have an abortion following an unintended pregnancy. In this video Juliette describes the challenges she faced in trying to find accurate and unbiased information about abortion, and she shares her thoughts on the role of men in the abortion process.

You can watch the other videos in the series here.

Unwanted pregnancies will always be a fact of life and abortions will continue. So, join us on September 28 in calling for governments to make abortion safe and legal abortion everywhere.

Read a guest blog on the "state shambles" of abortion in Ireland by IFPA, IPPF's Irish Member Association here.