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Reducing stigma by focusing on quality of abortion care


In July and August, 2015, inroads members gathered for a 2 week long asynchronous online discussion forum about Quality of Care and Stigma-free Abortion Services on the inroads Collaboration Workspace. Twenty-six active participants representing sixteen different member countries reviewed five issues of quality of care in the context of abortion stigma. Participants represented NGOs and community-based organizations, independent providers and activists, academic and research institutes, and locally based networks. Based on themes that emerged during this discussion, we drafted a framework, applying a stigma lens to the WHO framework for quality care. We were thrilled to share this work at the XXI FIGO World Congress of Gynecology and Obstetrics in Vancouver in early October.

English Version

Spanish Version

French Version

We are ever grateful to the members who participated in the discussion and to the eight inroads members who provided substantive review of this draft. inroads hopes that this conversation and framework can launch a global effort to come to agreement on a set of ideas for what quality looks like across global settings. It’s now up to all of us to answer the question “What would creating a facility that has quality, stigma-free care take to achieve?” Which indications of quality could you start with, what barriers would you face? Through taking these concepts of quality and stigma-free abortion services into our individual contexts we can turn these definitions into promising practices, we can start measuring change, we can increase quality and decrease stigma.

Keep us posted on your progress!

  1. Use or test this draft framework document at your next Quality of Care meeting or in your own practice.
  2. Keep us posted on your progress or your current stigma and quality of care work : or
  3. Join inroads to continue this dedicated conversation and other inquiries into abortion stigma and discrimination:

While we were at FIGO, we also took the opportunity to conduct a brief survey about professional experiences with abortion care amongst FIGO delegates in the main Exhibit Hall. With tablets in hand, inroads staff collected 113 surveys from delegates across 43 different countries. We asked a range of questions; we are still doing analyses, but wanted to share some preliminary findings with inroads members.

Survey Respondents


We had respondents from all over the world, with higher representations from North America and Africa. Sixty-four percent of respondents have been trained in the provision of abortion care, and 35% of respondents have opted out of either providing or assisting in abortion care. While most respondents were comfortable or very comfortable with abortion care across a variety of questions, discomfort did not predict likelihood of attending abortion-related sessions at conferences like FIGO. We also asked respondents to select three words from a list that are most associated with the word “abortion.” You can see the frequency distribution below.


We are looking forward to doing more analyses in the coming months, and will share findings here!

image of circles within circles: stigma manifests in mass media & culture, Legal, Institutional, Comminioty, and Individual levels.
How Stigma Manifests