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#AbortTheStigma: campaigning to end abortion stigma

XIgW8GeYouth Ki Awaaz (YKA) is a media platform for young Indians to “address some of the world’s most pressing issues – through thoughtful opinions and reportage.”

Together with CREA, a feminist human rights organisation based in New Delhi, India, YKA launched the #AbortTheStigma campaign to create the space for open discussions about abortion and the stigma that surrounds it.

Abortion is technically legal in India, under certain conditions. Yet it is estimated that every two hours in India, a woman dies from an unsafe abortion.

Gurkirrat Sachdeva is the digital media campaigner with YKA. Sachdeva says: “Although abortion in India is legal and available, the stigma that comes with it skews people’s view of it.” That’s because, despite its legal status, abortion remains a taboo subject, making women’s access to and awareness of safe and legal methods limited.

YKA and CREA are hoping that open conversations will contribute to breaking the stigma and shame attached to abortion, in order to have women be in control of their own body and sexuality. Sachdeva says: “For us, abortion needs to be part of a reproductive justice framework.” According to the Women of Colour Reproductive Justice Collective, Sister Song, a reproductive justice framework “is based on the human right to make personal decisions about one’s life, and the obligation of government and society to ensure that the conditions are suitable for implementing one’s decisions.”

The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that around 22 million unsafe abortions take place worldwide each year. Adolescent girls and those who are poor, unmarried, less educated, and who live in rural contexts are particularly at risk of jeopardizing their lives to undergo an unsafe abortion according to the WHO.

The YKA team took to the street to ask young Indians what they think of abortion and created this video with the different answers:

Under the #AbortTheStigma hashtag, YKA and CREA, along with other Twitterati, have been posting the following tweets:

CREA and YKA are also encouraging people to take a poll, asking them to state whether they think abortion is stigmatized in India. The poll results as of August 11th show that 85% of respondents say they do think abortion is stigmatized in India.

The #AbortTheStigma campaign will keep going until September 28, the Global Day of Action for Access to Safe and Legal Abortion. To find out more about Youth Ki Awaaz, CREA and the Abort the Stigma campaign, go to:

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