Abortion and Postabortion Care

Photo by Amy Coughlin

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.

Photo by Mary Burket

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)

Photo by John Lazame Tindanbil

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.

Related Projects

Expanding and Sustaining Safe Abortion Services in Ghana, Mozambique and South Africa through the Safe Abortion Action Fund

Pathfinder built upon existing efforts to expand and create sustainable safe abortion services in Ghana, Mozambique, and South Africa. The overarching goal of this project was to reduce maternal morbidity and mortality due to unsafe abortion.

Expanding Safe Abortion Services through the Provision of an Integrated Package of Care, Treatment, and Prevention Services in Gaza and Inhambane Provinces, Mozambique

Pathfinder is providing technical assistance at the provincial level and expanding facility-community linkages to increase post-abortion contraception uptake.


Related Publications

December 2013

The Way We Live: Advancing Health & Rights Through Integration

In a year of remarkable achievement, including Pathfinder’s landmark victory at the US Supreme Court and our return to Bangladesh with a $53.8 million project, what was most exciting? The answer—integration—is the theme of Pathfinder’s 2013 Annual Report.

August 2013

Avaliação de Materiais de IEC

Tomando em consideração os limites de tempo e recursos dos implementadores, as ferramentas da série Directo ao Ponto oferecem-lhe uma orientação clara e concisa sobre uma série de questões relacionadas com o design, implementação e avaliação de programas.

August 2013

Avaliando o Cenário Político para Advocacia

Esta ferramenta) vai ajudá-lo a compreender o cenário em que você está trabalhando e os pontos-chave que você precisa considerar para desenvolver a sua iniciativa.

August 2013

Mapeando uma Estratégia de Advocacia

Esta ferramenta ajudará você a planificar uma estratégia concreta para atingir seu objectivo, incluindo a definição de actividades específicas.


Related News

Get Angry: 41 Years After ‘Roe,’ Thousands of Women Are Dying From Unsafe Abortions

41 years after Roe v. Wade, women continue to lose their lives to unsafe abortion because of regressive policies here in the US and abroad. Enough is enough

Policy makers in the United States continue to dictate “what’s best” for women’s health with zero regard for the women themselves. Meanwhile, the world’s women pay the price with their freedom and their lives.

Forty-one years after Roe v. Wade, we’re losing ground on the right to abortion, and what’s more, we’re exporting our regressive policies elsewhere.

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On a day that should be reserved for celebrating progress on women’s rights, Pathfinder is deeply concerned about the negative effects domestic policy battles could have on US foreign policy and safe abortion rights in the countries where we work.

Ethiopian Women Pay High Price for US Aid Abortion Restrictions

Despite tremendous progress on family planning in Ethiopia, organizations like Pathfinder still see Ethiopian women paying a high price for USAID abortion restrictions related to the Helms Amendment.

"Any primary health clinic that doesn't provide abortions is a missed opportunity," said Demet Güral, a physician and vice-president of programmes at Pathfinder International.

Even if women have access to contraception, there are always failure rates, says Güral, and it is essential they can access safe abortion if needed.

"Especially for youth; most are not married, they have a future. How can you talk about family planning for youth and not talk about abortion?

UNFPA Explores Collaborative Partnership with Pathfinder International in the Area of Youth Programming

Senior management from UNFPA and Pathfinder International recently held high level talks on how similar programs implemented by the two organizations can be jointly enhanced to increase impact on Kenyans.

Under the maternal and newborn health program, Pathfinder is focused on improving Kenya's health status by supporting government health entities and communities to integrate and strengthen HIV, family planning and maternal and child health services.

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