In October 2009, we praised the updated policy on safe and unsafe abortion by UK Department for International Development (DFID), which states that access to safe abortion services is both a “right” and “necessary” because unsafe abortion is the cause of 13% of maternal deaths worldwide. In the last year, DFID has been working to create a better plan for international development that emphasizes the importance of access to both safe abortion services and contraceptives.
Last week, UK Ministers adopted DFID’s Policy Position on Abortion as part of its framework on maternal health. The International Women’s Health Coalition (IWHC) applauds the decision to enact a policy that builds toward a more comprehensive vision of women’s sexual and reproductive rights and health.
The next step in the process is for DFID to support in-country programming that follows through on the aims outlined in the policy. DFID, which works in 150 countries, will use the new policy to support the following in places where abortion is legal:
- the training of health personnel in safe abortion techniques, including medical abortion and counselling, for comprehensive abortion care;
- life saving post-abortion care;
- the provision of drugs and equipment for health facilities;
- improving the conditions under which services are provided;
- the provision of information to health personnel and women;
- the development of plans and protocols to improve service quality; and
- research to monitor progress in improving health outcomes.
Read more about the DFID policy and download their paper about the work here.
Read our fact sheet on safe abortion, Access to Safe Abortion is a Human Right.