Inroads members know that abortion stigma is a major contributor to the social, medical, and legal marginalization of abortion worldwide. As stigma intersects with other oppressive forces to affect people differently, our understanding of stigma is ever evolving.
Throughout the world, many people still do not have the right to make one of the most important and life-transformative decisions: to carry a pregnancy to term or not. In spite of the fact that it is a very common experience during the reproductive life cycle, abortion is still seen as wrong or deviant. Though stigma manifests differently depending on geography, culture and religion, abortion remains a contested and heavily stigmatized issue in nearly every country and region across countries as different as Australia, Spain, the United States, Kenya and Honduras.
As a part of our global network, researchers, community workers and advocates are beginning to examine the role that abortions stigma plays in law, health policy, communities and the lives of individuals. To get to the root of abortion stigma we are asking BIG Questions of ourselves and our communities: Why are people deprived of a health-care service that they want and need, that could save their lives, that is safe and effective?
The goal of inroads is to support these efforts to understand stigma as part of a larger goal of supporting sexual and reproductive rights and abortion access for all. Our specific contribution as a funder and a network is to create a vibrant movement with an engaged community of practice and a set of resources and tools that individuals can use to identify sites of stigma and work to mitigate it. We believe that we must address stigma, and its root causes and consequences, in order for real and deep change to happen around abortion globally, regionally and locally. And time is of the essence.