Asia and the Pacific

Although safe abortion is available in Bangladesh, geographical difficulties, poverty, lack of education and social and cultural stigma prevent women getting access. Many female tea workers and ethnic minority groups also choose to receive abortion and other sexual and reproductive health services from traditional healers that are not always safe.

Using SAAF funding, BWHC works with these communities in North-Eastern Bangladesh to raise awareness of safe abortion and contraceptive options. To improve the quality of abortion-related services provided and reduce the stigma in the community.

Visit the Bangladesh Women's Health Coalition (BWHC) website.
Despite the legality of abortion in Cambodia, deep-seated socio-cultural stigma, gender inequalities, and government natalism impede open discussion and learning about women’s right to safe abortion. The resulting community silence is a key reason many women continue to seek unsafe abortions. According to RHAC’s own research, over a third of the abortions reported in Kampot province (where their SAAF funded work take places) are unsafe.

RHAC aims to break the silence on abortion, enabling women, their partners, providers, and other relevant community stakeholders to engage in factually-grounded, and rights-based discourse on abortion. The project will build capacity and forge awareness-raising networks among government and media stakeholders; nurture Woman Champions to dispel abortion-related stigma, particularly toward rural, poor, and unmarried women; and train providers to combat self-stigma and social discrimination.

Visit the Reproductive Health Association of Cambodia (RHAC) website.

The YP Foundation (TYPF) is a youth-led organisation that facilitates young people’s feminist and rights-based leadership on issues of health equity, gender justice, sexuality rights, and social justice.

Noting that the effect of abortion stigma and misinformation has the most detrimental effect on those in more marginalised communities, TYPF's SAAF-funded work focuses on working with organisations that represent or are associated with marginalised social groups that are affected by poor access to healthcare services, low economic status, adverse environmental changes, and harsh livelihood conditions. TYPF works with young people from Assam and Kerala to undertake evidence-based advocacy for safe abortion issues using a rights-based framework, and facilitate policy-level interventions with government stakeholders to improve abortion service delivery.   

Visit the TYPF website.

This organisation will use SAAF funding to ensure their hotline and counselling services are more inclusive of people with disabilities. As well as training staff and making practical improvements to the hotline, they will also campaign with feminist networks and the media to improve understanding of and acceptance of abortion rights in Indonesia.
Visim works to create visible impact on the lives of women, girls and young people and is committed to work which centres feminism, human rights and meaningful youth participation.

Despite the legalisation of abortion in Nepal, over half of procedures are still unsafe (performed outside the law), mostly due to abortion stigma, which can be especially prohibitive for young people. Visim’s SAAF-funded work creates youth champions across the country, who are equipped to challenge misinformation and negative attitudes about abortion through participatory activities. A group of young people from each of the seven provinces of Nepal will take part in a ‘bootcamp’ to equip them with the knowledge and skills needed to advocate on this stigmatised topic.

Visit the Visible Impact website.
The Philippines is one of a handful of countries that criminalizes abortion without clear exceptions. The Revised Penal Code of 1930, patterned after the Spanish Penal Code of 1870, punishes the pregnant woman, the abortion provider (including physicians and midwives), and even parents. Whilst prosecutions are rare, these criminal provisions and the stigma associated with abortion forces women to resort to unsafe and clandestine procedures.

WGNRR works to strengthen the capacity of local safe abortion networks to lead a national campaign to decriminalise abortion in the Philippines. They engage with activists, health workers, and partner organisations in the Philippine Safe Abortion Advocacy Network (PINSAN) to raise awareness and develop advocacy strategies.

Visit the Women’s Global Network for Reproductive Rights (WGNRR) website.
Tamtang advocates for the right to safe abortion in Thailand, where despite abortion being legal under certain conditions, many procedures are still taking place ‘underground’ due to stigma, lack of information and provider refusal. Since 2011 Tamtang has offered information about safe abortion and reproductive health on its website and free counselling hotline/messaging service.

During the course of their SAAF-funded work, Tamtang has contributed to a legal expansion of abortion in Thailand. They continue to work with policy makers, the media, and activist groups to push for implementation of legal abortion, and the reduction of stigma and unsafe practices.

Visit the Tamtang Group website.