While we were at the Second International Congress on Women’s Health and Unsafe Abortion – IWAC 2013 we witnessed a remarkable union of pro-choice activists, researchers and providers. What better moment than this to make a commitment to recognize unsafe abortion as a public health issue, and declare that laws restricting the access to safe abortion are a a violation of human rights.
Prof. Kamheang Chaturachinda, the organizer of IWAC and a very well respected activist and doctor called upon leading prochoice activists to sign the Bangkok Declaration, as a way of concluding the congress. Among those activists called to sign the declaration were ASAP Chair, Dr. SP. Choong, and the ASAP Coordinator, Dr. Suchitra Dalvie. It was a very proud moment for us.
During the inauguration Prof. Chaturachinda said, “I have a dream that should my granddaughters need an abortion they will be able to access it with safety and dignity.” So the gathering was moved when he called upon his young granddaughter to read the declaration out loud to the audience. It reminded us of the benefits this battle for abortion would bring to the future generations of women.
There were some outstanding points about the Bangkok declaration:
1. It acknowledged unsafe abortion as a public health and human rights issue.
2. It underlined the needs to use the most advanced medical technologies.
3. It recognized the need to include the needs of adolescent girls, and young women.
4.It declared that all restrictions to safe abortion as a violation of basic human rights, and women’s autonomy over her body.
5. It emphasized that abortion will always remain a need, irrespective of the availability of contraceptives.
Here is the entire declaration:
You can also read it on the IWAC website. We do hope you will share this widely, and help us spread the message to decriminalize, liberalize and de-stigmatize abortion.