(ZENIT News – Center for Family and Human Right / New York, 10.31.2023).- Abortion groups are stepping up their efforts to spread abortion across the African continent. New offices are opening, new campaigns are starting, new strategies are coming to light. It is clear the sexual left has determined their most important battleground right now is Africa.
Groups are celebrating the 20th anniversary of something called the Maputo Protocol that was ratified by 44 African governments and is considered a prized possession of the left. The Protocol mandates legalization of abortion on broad grounds, including in cases where the pregnancy is causing mental distress to the mother, and to recognize abortion as a human right. Patrick Djemo, DRC country director at MSI Reproductive Choices, said “There’s literally no circumstance under which a woman can find herself that cannot fit in any of these grounds.”
A group called SOAWR (Solidarity for African Women’s Rights) worked on several campaigns “to push [African] governments to sign and ratify the Protocol” and to train activists, lawyers, and judges on how to use the Protocol to ensure access to abortion. SOAWR admits their efforts “strengthened the ability of more than 300 legal practitioners from 38 African states to use the Protocol to litigate cases nationally and regionally and to establish precedents for women’s rights across Africa.”
In celebration of this “milestone”, international pro-abortion organizations have announced their plans to accelerate their “sexual and reproductive health” work and move beyond changing national laws. Many abortion groups use the 2016-2030 Maputo Plan of Action as a framework to “mobilize” NGOs, civil society, media, and government officials to support the “improvement of sexual and reproductive health and rights in Africa.”
Ipas, an international organization whose expressed purpose is to expand abortion access all over the world, has announced the opening of a new headquarters office in South Africa as part of its Africa South Region (ASR) program. Ipas hopes “the regional office in South Africa will bring Ipas ASR closer to a majority of funding institutions, donors, and other key stakeholders that are critical to support regional programming.”
The Guttmacher Institute, a research organization committed to advancing sexual and reproductive health and rights worldwide, have developed a new Toolkit for Abortion Research and Advocacy in Africa (TARAA) as a “resource that abortion researchers and advocates can use in conducting abortion research, effectively communicating evidence, and advocating for policy changes that promote safe abortion.”
The toolkit shares activities, PowerPoint presentations, and social media templates to convince the African public, including the youth, teachers, medical practitioners, and policymakers that abortion is a safe practice and fundamental to the well-being of women.
Besides promoting “#SmashAbortionStigma” campaigns to frame pro-life arguments as “harmful misinformation,” the toolkit features guides from the International Planned Parenthood Federation on how to “educate” others on abortion. The toolkit also shares resources for “transmen, transmasculine, non-binary, gender non-conforming, genderqueer, agender, intersex people and anyone else who can get pregnant and does not identify as a cisgender woman.”
Many such advocacy initiatives build upon the Ipas Values Clarification for Action and Transformation (VCAT) curriculum which aims at transforming the beliefs and attitudes toward abortion of healthcare workers. During a women’s health event held this spring, an Ipas Senior Advisor said that Ipas wants to ensure that it trains and develops the “right kind” of medical staff, namely practitioners who have a positive attitude toward abortion.