We have recognized that advocacy is almost the only means whereby laws, policy and practice in countries can be changed and have been facilitating the sharing of experiences among concerned and committed people and organisations through our various partnerships.
Estimates of the incidence of unsafe abortion and the percentage of maternal deaths attributed to unsafe abortion continue to be high in the region. Although access to safe abortion services has been proven to be linked to a lower incidence of unsafe abortion (and lower percentages of maternal deaths due to unsafe abortion), progress on amending laws seems slow. China, Nepal, Vietnam, Cambodia and India provide abortion on many grounds. Where abortion laws are restrictive, it is important to look at how women’s NGOs are working to amend these laws as clearly mentioned in the Beijing Platform for Action.
In countries such as Lao PDR, the Philippines, Indonesia, Bangladesh and Pakistan, legal barriers continue to curb women’s access to abortion, because there can be no services without laws. It is also useful to note that abortion services for women are being provided safely through the private sector (Malaysia and Thailand), through the family-planning methods of menstrual regulation (Bangladesh) and through private provision of medical abortion (South-East Asia).