Access to safe and legal abortion is a pressing health and rights issue in Asia. Approximately 40 percent of abortions performed in 2008 in Asia were unsafe; in South Central Asia, Southeastern Asia and Western Asia, the percentage of those that were unsafe reached 60 to 65 percent. An estimated 17,000 women died from unsafe abortions in 2008. The Asia Safe Abortion Partnership (ASAP) is a network of activists, providers, and researchers working to advocate for improved access to safe abortion.
In Asia, a significant proportion of the population is under 25 years of age, and there is a great need for young people to participate in and lead efforts to protect and advance sexual and reproductive rights. Most pressing is the challenge of building a new generation of advocates for safe and legal abortion. IWHC supports ASAP’s Youth Advocacy Institute, which aims to create a new generation of youth who will promote, protect and expand sexual and reproductive rights of women and men in Asia, and help to build a youth community within ASAP which will help the network understand and effectively support youth issues.
ASAP works to reduce unsafe abortion and maternal morbidity and mortality in Asia by promoting and advancing access to safe abortion services.
Launched in November 2012, the first Youth Advocacy Institute hosted 12 young people from 10 countries for a multiday workshop to train and provide an understanding of access to safe abortion as a gender and sexual and reproductive rights, as well as a human rights, issue. Participants were trained to use social media and other networking tools for advocacy. ASAP made small grants to four of the participants to conduct advocacy projects in their own countries and provided ongoing mentoring in the use of social media to all of them. ASAP organized their second, four-day advocacy training institute for young people in September 2013 which brought back graduates of the first class for a refresher course to train them as mentors and trainers of a new class of participants.