FIGO Endorses Amnesty International’s Updated Institutional Policy on Abortion

FIGO regards reproductive choice, including access to safe abortion services, as a basic and non-negotiable tool for ensuring the human rights of every woman, not just in one region or country, but globally.

Being able to control one’s fertility and to make choices about pregnancy and childbearing is fundamental to wider efforts on gender equality, physical and mental health and prosperity. Women will not be equal until they can control if, when and how many children they have, which requires access to safe abortion.

FIGO supports the aim of human rights organisations like Amnesty International to promote the right to safe abortion.

On 28 September, International Safe Abortion Day, Amnesty International is launching its updated policy on abortion, which FIGO supports. The policy recognises access to safe abortion as an essential component of a fair and equal society, and as integral to realising the full range of human rights. It further recognises abortion, provided in a manner that respects human rights, autonomy, and dignity, as the right of anyone who can become pregnant.

The updated policy was developed in consultation with human rights experts, medical providers and the Amnesty movement, and informed by years of research and engagement with women and girls whose lives have been shattered by the ‘chilling effect’ created by restrictive laws. The organisation’s updated policy on abortion, an explanatory note and ‘key messages’ around the institutional policy can be found here, here and here.

These Amnesty International statements are broadly in keeping with those from our Committee for Safe Abortion and Committee for Ethical Aspects of Human Reproduction and Women’s Health. FIGO states that we “recommend that women receive appropriate counselling and a woman has the right to have access to a medical or surgical abortion, and the health care service has an obligation to provide such services as safely as possible.”