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Inaugural “Global Day of Action to Destigmatize Abortions” was held on March 28th

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inroads is proud to have coordinated the co-convening of the inaugural “Global Day of Action to Destigmatize Abortions,” successfully observed on March 28th this year.

This day confronted the pervasive stigma surrounding abortion and its intersection with other forms of discrimination, highlighting that “Abortions are a normal part of reproductive journeys.” Co-convened by a global coalition of reproductive justice organizations and feminist collectives and funders, this global effort marked a step towards transforming narratives and practices for reproductive freedom.

“The launch was a success, with over 180 organizations from across the globe partnering to launch this day of action, and over 1.7 million people reached. We were excited to see so many reproductive justice collectives and individual activists amplifying stigma-free abortion narratives when marking the day of action on their communications channels, disseminating stigma-busting resources & arts, sharing their abortion stories, and holding their own spaces to destigmatize abortions.” shared Mariana Gonzalez Cedraro, Communications Manager at inroads – The International Network for the Reduction of Abortion Discrimination and Stigma, and coordinator of this collective campaign. 

Abortion stigma has long been one of the greatest barriers to accessing safe and legal abortion worldwide. According to the World Health Organisation, around 73 million induced abortions take place worldwide each year. 61% of all unintended pregnancies and 29% of all pregnancies end in induced abortion. This staggering statistic underscores the urgent need to address the stigma surrounding abortion and its detrimental impact on reproductive healthcare access.

The “Global Day of Action to Destigmatize Abortions” also aimed to build on the momentum established by “International Safe Abortion Day,” observed annually on September 28th, and the “International Day of Action for Women’s Health” on May 28.

The reproductive justice organizations co-convening this campaign intentionally selected March 28 to connect with these movements’ efforts. This shared date symbolizes the interconnectedness of our struggles and the strength of our collective activism. It symbolizes unity and continuity within the feminist ecosystem, showcasing our collective power to advocate for transformative change in reproductive rights, health, and justice.

To commemorate this historic day, a website filled with resources to destigmatize abortions was launched at march28.org, and multiple events were organized, including webinars, in-person and online community dialogues and workshops, Twitter space discussions, and virtual roundtables. These events delved into topics such as the role of abortion stigma in accessing safe abortions, funding for abortion justice movements, the disability justice perspective on abortion stigma, shifting abortion narratives through creative practices and communications, and diverse strategies for destigmatizing abortions.

Stigma is one of the biggest barriers to seeking abortion care. Even in Sweden, one of the most progressive countries in the world for abortion rights, we know that some abortion patients face being shamed or having to defend their decision. Others may feel that they have to keep it a secret from family and friends. We want to end abortion stigma in Sweden and around the world so that everyone has access to their rights. The right to make your own decisions about your body, your pregnancy and your life,” shared Kristina Castell, co-convenor from the Swedish Association for Sexual and Reproductive Rights (RFSU).

Abortion justice advocates and allies are invited to join this yearly global campaign at march28.org.

Abortion care should be available as a matter of right, a matter of choice and a value of autonomy for girls and women. However, working on this issue in a criminalized context is challenging. Many voices are silenced by the potential legal consequences and stigma from our communities. But for these reasons, we must unite, mobilize, and refuse to be silenced for the right to control our bodies is not a privilege, but a fundamental necessity for our collective liberation,” emphasized Nicky Spencer Coker, Feminist Activist and Legal Practitioner from Sierra Leone and Co-convenor from Purposeful.

Abortions are a normal part of reproductive journeys; they are a common reproductive health need & practice globally, but prevailing stigma prevents abortion from being treated as a standard healthcare procedure in most parts of the world.

This global campaign aims to transform narratives and practices to build a world where everyone is free to access their fundamental right to abortion healthcare, free from stigma, with dignity, care, and support. Join us!