28 September: what to organise?

July 23, 2012

Diverse actions, different places – one demand!

Here are a list of ideas, taken from various sources for what to organise around 28 September. Whatever you decide to do, big or small, send all your contacts the details in an email and/or SMS text messages, put it on Twitter and Facebook and other social media you use, put it your website and on national listserves and various e-newsletters, send out a press release if appropriate,  let everyone know! And don’t forget to tell us too!!
If you can’t do something exactly on the day of 28 September, no problem, do it during the week before or after, but link it to the 28 September campaign as a united global action.

1. Video– Make one or more videos, e.g. about your group and what you do; about how to induce an early abortion with mifepristone (if available) + misoprostol , or misoprostol alone; about the law on abortion in your country and how and why you think it should be changed for the better; about existing abortion services in your city or country; about what women need to know if they have an unwanted pregnancy; about what to do if you have problems after an abortion; about safe abortion methods for both first and second trimester abortion; about where to find a safe abortion in a neighbouring country if it isn’t available in yours. Put them on your website, YouTube and other video sites.

2. Prepare a web page with relevant information about abortion in your country, city or local area, about the law, existing services, and/or what women need to know.

3. Make a CD-rom with written information for women or put the information on a memory stick and hand them out at various events.

4. Use posters, stickers or graffiti to tell women there is a hotline they can call for information on abortion and contraception or a clinic they can go to.

5. Organise a street demonstration or a street drama or a flash mob or a guerrilla action, such as hanging a safe abortion banner from a large public statue.

6. Create a national or regional listserve to enable on-going e-communication between pro-choice groups and individuals where people can share information and get answers to frequently asked questions, and to create a forum for resource sharing, experience sharing, and to break down isolation.

7. Develop tools that can be shared across countries for advocacy, including fact sheets, FAQs, and press kits.

8. Create how-to or training materials based on your experience on how to do abortion advocacy or how to run an abortion hotline and share them with others.

9. Form a national coalition bringing together all the groups and organisations working for women’s right to safe abortion and work together, if and when appropriate, and meet in order to share information and ideas and news in person.

10. Strengthen regional connections by creating or expanding a regional network, or bring existing networks together, again where groups can share information, offer cross-border support and resources, and work together in advocacy campaigns to make the problems women have regarding abortion visible across borders.
11. Hold a public meeting or a closed meeting for pro-choice advocates and supporters – the possibilities are endless. For example, invite women who have had abortions to come together to talk about their experiences in an informal and safe setting. Get some of them to write these down (anonymously), or record and transcribe them and create a pamphlet afterwards to share with other women. Or invite legal experts to talk about the abortion law and policy and why they are good (or bad) for women. Or invite pro-choice doctors who provide abortions to talk about why they are pro-choice and why they decided to do abortions – invite medical students to come and listen to them. Or invite pro-choice politicians to talk about whether your parliament is likely to consider progressive abortion law reform and what you and they would need to do to prepare and table a bill. Have a meeting to talk about what sort of law reform you would like to see – invite legal experts to explain to you what law reform would involve given your current laws, discuss whether decriminalisation or legalisation is more appropriate. Or hold a public tribunal to publicise the negative consequences of the criminalisation of abortion in your country, including case histories of what has happened to individual women.
12. Form an expert committee to draft an abortion law reform bill.
13. Create and circulate a petition calling for abortion law reform – put it on the web, listserves, SMS text messages, Twitter, Facebook. Set up a survey monkey or use a web-based petition service to collect signatures. Hold a press conference to announce the petition and signatures publicly and hand it in to your country’s prime minister, health minister, or appropriate person on or around 28 September.
14. Start a campaign for government approval of mifepristone and misoprostol as essential medicines by your national drug regulatory agency and the availability of these drugs in your country at affordable prices.
15. Launch a long-term campaign to ensure that abortion services, including medical abortion, are accessible to women who are legally eligible for an abortion in legally restricted settings.

16. Do a survey of public opinion about abortion and announce the findings for 28 September. However, get expert help with the survey so that the results are representative and valid and you ask good questions.

17.  Do research on obstacles and barriers women experience in seeking a safe abortion – e.g. demands for a judge’s authorisation, individual and institutional claims of conscientious objection, rejection of a claim of rape, refusal of health insurance coverage for a legal termination, or refusal of a legal termination even for a serious health indication. Publicise your findings.

18. Do research on women’s experience of unsafe abortion, whether post-abortion care is timely and effective, and/or the type, cost, quality and safety of illegal abortion services in your city or local area – announce you will start the research on 28 September and when you’re done, publicise your findings.
19. If there are women in prison or being prosecuted for having an illegal abortion, or doctors are being prosecuted or harassed by the authorities, start a public campaign for their release and for an end to all such prosecutions.
20. Launch a long-term campaign for the decriminalisation of abortion in your country and/or if you are a regional network, then in your region.
Thanks for ideas and text from: ICMA website, Abortion Hotlines meeting report, Northern Ireland Pro-Choice Alliance, AFP Portugal, Voice for Choice UK, WGNRR, La Mesa por la Vida y la Salud de las Mujeres Colombia, Federation for Women and Family Planning Poland, and RHM articles.