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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.
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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.
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Sama was founded in 1999 by a group of feminist activists, to work on issues related to women and health, with a commitment to integrate a gender, caste, class and rights analysis into all the work that they do.

Sama's SAAF funded work focuses on supporting women and girls from the Baiga (tribal) community in Chhattisgarh to claim their right to reproductive health and rights, particularly to comprehensive, safe, quality abortion care. The project builds women's leadership in tribal communities to amplify a collective demand for access to safe abortion services for the most marginalised.

Visit the Sama Resource Group for Women and Health website.
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The YP Foundation (YPF) is a youth-led organisation that supports and develops youth leadership to advance the rights of young women, girls and other marginalised youth.

Noting that the effect of abortion stigma and misinformation has the most detrimental effect on those in more marginalised communities, YPF's SAAF-funded work focuses on two such communities across diverse geographies which are affected by poor access to healthcare services, low economic status, adverse environmental changes and harsh livelihood conditions. YPF works with young people (especially from tea plantation labourer and marine fisherfolk communities) from Assam and Kerala to undertake evidence-based advocacy for safe abortion issues using a rights-based framework.

Visit the YP Foundation website.
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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.
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PHD Group champions a local movement for the overall development of all people including their sexual and reproductive health and rights. Working in the under-served region of Gorkha in Nepal, they aim to increase knowledge about safe abortion and access to safe services in districts where, despite the liberal law, most women are still using unsafe abortion methods.

PHD Group works directly with public health providers, ensuring that they are trained and qualified to provide quality care while also educating the community on the dangers of unsafe abortion and empowering women to seek safe abortion and contraception care in public health facilities. They also work directly with young people providing comprehensive sexuality education in schools to increase knowledge of SRHR issues and to break down taboos.

Visit the Population, Health and Development Group website.
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Pakistan

Shirkat Gah

With SAAF funding, Shirkat Gah works in the Sindh and Baluchistan provinces of Pakistan with an overall goal to bring about sustained positive attitudinal and behavioural change towards abortion, promote women’s access to sexual and reproducitve health and rights information and services, and reduce gender inequalities that curtail women and girls’ reproductive choices.

Visit the Shirkat Gah website.
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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.
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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.
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