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New report sharing women's views on abortion care

Friday 27 September 2019 Marie Stopes International Safe abortion and post abortion care

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Globally, one in four women will access abortion care in their lifetime. Yet, with abortion highly stigmatised, many experiences remain silenced. Now is the time for these women to be heard.

To mark International Safe Abortion Day, Marie Stopes International is launching a new report, My Body, My Voice: Women’s views on abortion care, based on interviews with more than 1,900 safe abortion clients from across Africa, Asia and Latin America to shed a light on the realities women face when accessing care.

All around the word, women face obstacles when accessing the abortion care. In some cases, women are forced to travel for days, sometimes across borders to access care. In others, a restrictive environment or abortion stigma pushes women to unsafe providers, putting their lives at risk.

At Marie Stopes International, we have spent over 40 years supporting women and girls around the world to access high-quality and safe abortion services. As part of our ongoing commitment to provide women-centred services, we wanted to better understand the realities of the women we serve and decided to speak with over 1,900 women across Africa, Asia and Latin America about their experiences of having an abortion at one of our centres.

Their responses provide unique and valuable insight to what women face every day when accessing abortion care worldwide. Whilst every woman’s experience is unique, these responses help us to identify trends and solutions, based on what women want and value.

 

The report highlights the prevailing stigma surrounding abortion, with nearly one in four women (23.4%) reporting directly experiencing stigma while accessing abortion care, either from family members, partners, their community, or even in some cases from providers.

Whilst the report shows the diversity of women accessing abortion services in our centres, from students seeking to stay in education to married women juggling the needs of their existing families, it also highlights the misconception that some women are more deserving of safe care than others. According to the report:

  • Single women are five times more likely than married women to experience stigma
  • Women aged 25-34 years were 71% more likely to experience stigma than women under 25
  • Women who had children were 59% more likely to experience stigma than women with no children

High levels of stigma around abortion are creating a culture of silence, meaning women who need safe services often lack essential information on where to access them.

At Marie Stopes International, we are doing everything we can to support women on their journey and challenge the abortion stigma that continues to drive women to unsafe methods, but it’s only if we work together that we can eliminate the idea that one woman is more deserving of safe care than another and – once and for all – smash abortion stigma.

 

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Do you want to learn more about increasing safe access to abortion care?

Visit SafeAccess, the first digital platform of its kind to tackle unsafe abortion worldwide.