Abortion and Postabortion Care
Pathfinder provides comprehensive abortion care in conjunction with other sexual and reproductive health care services, including postabortion counseling about contraceptives to avoid future unplanned pregnancies.
To ensure women can receive high-quality care in a welcoming environment, Pathfinder builds the clinical skills of providers and helps them identify and manage their own personal prejudices against abortion. (MOZAMBIQUE)
At a mosque in Ghana, community members discuss abortion, dispel myths, and learn the risks of delaying postabortion care.
Pathfinder reaches youth where they are—through their schools, teachers, parents, and peer educators—with services that address their particular vulnerabilities to unsafe abortion. (KENYA)
At Pathfinder, we have consistently taken a stand to make sure abortion is included in worldwide discussions about improving women’s health and lives.
Unsafe abortion is a critical public health concern in most developing countries. Every year 47,000 women die as a result of unsafe abortion, accounting for 13 percent of all maternal deaths worldwide. Where abortion is highly restricted or where safe abortion services are costly or hard to find, complications from an unsafe abortion are far too common.
Pathfinder believes access to abortion services is not only a public health imperative, it is also every woman's right. As part of our mission, Pathfinder helps ensure the availability of safe, legal abortion services that are performed by well-trained providers so that every woman has options and can make choices about what is best for her wellbeing and future.
As a founding member of the Postabortion Care Consortium, Pathfinder helped develop the concept of postabortion care as an important, emerging area of reproductive health. Quality postabortion care is critical to treat complications of unsafe abortion and save lives. It includes emergency treatment, contraceptive counseling and supplies, and follow up and referral for other reproductive health services.
Pathfinder believes that while all women should have access to safe abortion services, the key to reducing reliance on abortion is providing women with the means to safely control their fertility. The myriad reasons a woman might face an unwanted pregnancy-lack of access to or failure of contraception, lack of power to use family planning in her relationship, gender inequality, violence, or social and religious pressure-cannot all be eliminated. However, these challenges can be greatly reduced through ensuring availability of sexual and reproductive health care services.
We have five key approaches for all of our comprehensive abortion and postabortion care work:
- Integrate comprehensive abortion care into standard sexual and reproductive health services to optimize availability and access.
- Expand the number of trained providers who can sensitively counsel and provide abortion services. This includes expanding access to medical abortion (i.e., Misoprostol) to increase choice and bring services closer to the community.
- Improving youth-friendly services with special attention to the stigma and barriers for youth that result in higher mortality and morbidity for young women.
- Enabling a supportive environment through community mobilization to ensure the right of women to access abortion services, dispelling myths, lowering the risks of unwanted pregnancy, and minimizing delays in seeking care.
- Advocating with health, legislative, and other governmental officials for supportive policies.
Currently, Pathfinder has a range of projects related to abortion services and advocacy around the world.