Top 10 Wins #10: United Kingdom Upholds Women’s Right to Safe Abortion

Each year IWHC issues a publication highlighting the “Top Ten Wins for Women’s Health and Rights” for that year. This week on Akimbo, we’ll be unveiling our latest picks for the top ten wins for women’s health and rights of 2009. Click here to view the list from last year.

In October, the UK Department for International Development (DFID) released its updated policy on safe and unsafe abortion, stating that access to safe abortion is both a “right” and “necessary.”  DFID, which manages British government aid to 150 countries, wrote that “this preventable mortality and ill-health due to unsafe abortion is seriously undermining countries’ ability to achieve Millennium Development Goal 5 (to improve maternal health) and places a high burden on already over-stretched health systems.”  The policy also states that in countries where abortion is illegal, DFID will “make the consequences of unsafe abortion more widely understood” and will consider “supporting processes of legal and policy reform.”

What’s Next: In the 21st century no woman should die or suffer the traumas of an unsafe or illegal abortion. Access to safe abortion services is fundamental to woman’s ability to exercise her rights to control her body, to self-determination, and to maintain her health.  DFID’s commitment to women’s human rights and its leadership in improving sexual and reproductive health is exceptional, and should set a standard for the world’s governments and international donors.

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