Right to safe abortion is one of the most discussed yet silent issue of engagement. Given the stigma or discomfort around the issue in our society, it makes it even more challenging to unpack the realities around it in varied contexts, settings, communities etc.
Taking example of India’s context wherein Abortion is legal, and clearly recognised as a healthcare service to be delivered by the health system(s) overall; the persistent barriers faced by women and girls in seeking abortion care, or making the decision of abortion talks of issues at varied levels that need to be addressed. These issues are socio-political and systemic within the larger hetero-patriarchal framework operating within societies and systems.
In our recent conversation with community based groups, women leaders and rights activists from Chhattisgarh, the first thing that kept coming up was to break the silence around the issue. Many women and health activists flagged the need to build more conversations on this issue-to create spaces for building a comprehensive understanding on this. It was felt that how by not talking about it, we further marginalise the issue of abortion rights, and therefore the right to have safe abortion and healthcare for many women and girls, and particularly those marginalised communities and rural areas. Knowledge around the legality of abortion-whether it is legal or not; right to abortion-whether women have this right or not; abortion healthcare services-whether this is available or not and where-misconceptions and lack of information around these basic aspects have been recognised as areas to be further strengthened as part of these ongoing conversations. Many of these groups, activists have already shared how they would like to take back this information and knowledge to the community level, and are resolved in their ideas to take forward these discussions.
One significant aspect of these discussions has also been to locate the issue of abortion within marginalised communities, to understand the realities of reproductive rights and access to comprehensive healthcare within areas that are rural, remote and/or represented by weakened infrastructure and poor socio-economic contexts.
Sama recently has been facilitating these discussions through online mediums/small sessions via Zoom. Around 60 participants from over 30 groups/NGOs working in the areas of tribal rights, health rights, women’s rights etc, including community health workers from Chhattisgarh have remained involved in these discussions. Through these string of sessions, we hope to move towards building a comprehensive discussion and understanding on the issue of Abortion rights and gender justice.
As part of ongoing session(s)-the next session is planned to discuss the healthcare aspects of Abortion rights, to understand details of comprehensive abortion care and services to be provided by the health system.
Session: Understanding Abortion as healthcare and right
Date: 29th May (Saturday) | 11 am to 1.30 PM (via Zoom) | Language: Hindi
Resource Person: Dr. Subha Sri
Dr. Subha Sri will be facilitating this session in two parts. She will begin with engaging the participants to reflect on the gender aspects, and rights framing of the abortion vis-a-vis healthcare.
Following this, she would facilitate sharing of information on methods involved in provision of safe abortion care, updated knowledge and discussions on those methods and discourses within the health system.