Centre for Cultures of Reproduction, Technologies and Health

Global Justice Now event – Abortion right around the World: progress, success and setbacks

And a film screening of Vessel

CORTH Blog: 14 October 2019

Anna Christina Maukner

Vessel28th September marks International Safe Abortion Day. A few days later on October 3rd, Global Justice Now Brighton Youth held an event to discuss abortion around the world. Christina Boateng from the International Campaign for Women’s Right to Safe Abortion gave a thought-provoking presentation on the important work of the campaign which focuses on decriminalising, legalising and normalising abortion. Restricting abortion does not prevent or reduce abortions but keeps them unsafe. Each year between 4.7% – 13.2% of maternal deaths can be attributed to unsafe abortion. Therefore, abortion is a public health concern and should be part of reproductive health care. However, abortion is still criminalised in too many countries. (A map on the current legal status around the world can be found here: https://reproductiverights.org/worldabortionlaws)

Christina Boateng highlighted the impressive progress campaign groups around the world have made (see 28 Examples of progress and successes for abortion rights in 2018: https://mailchi.mp/safeabortionwomensright/28-examples-of-progress-successes-for-abortion-rights-in-2018-27-september-2018). The fight for safe abortion around the world continues as new and ongoing obstacles such as the Global Gag rule continue controlling women and their bodies.

One example of a safe abortion initiative is Women on Waves. In 2000, Rebeca Gomperts set up Women on Waves, a charity providing sexual health services including early medical abortions on board of a Dutch ship in offshore waters outside the territorial waters of countries where abortion is illegal. The story of the fight for safe abortions is documented in the 2014 film Vessel. Today, Women on Waves focuses on helping women access information on medical abortions to perform by themselves with pills.

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