Media Sensitization on Safe Abortion

Youth Champion Advocacy Network Nepal, YOUTHCANN had received a small grant from Asia Safe Abortion Partnership to organize various advocacy session on safe abortion to different groups like young people, service providers and media people. On the occasion of September 28, Global Day of Action for Access to Safe and Legal Abortion, YOUTHCANN organized half day sensitization program on safe abortion to media persons from print and radio.

Media is one of the most powerful instruments of communication. It plays a very constructive role in today’s world. As we know media plays an important role in increasing of public awareness and collect the views, information and attitudes toward certain issues. It presents the real stage of society. Without the media, people would be isolated, not only from the rest of the world, but also for the total formation of creditable world.

The media has got a vital role in molding positive perspective on abortion among people and spread positive message in the society to #BustTheMyths. But there is a myths on media

Myths: Most Media People Object the Abortion.

Facts: Media People are Often leading Advocates for Safe & Legal Abortion

Resource person Ms. Madhabi Bajracharya from Ipas shared that Ipas Nepal also closely works with media people and organize sensitization program for them regarding abortion. It has been observed that media people have their own values and they rarely accept abortion a woman’s right. Holding ones values on abortion might give rise to bias news and information which simultaneously lead to #abortionstigma and discrimination.

Likewise, one of the Youth Champions shared that she has been following various articles been published in newspaper and online news regarding abortion, the media always covers news on women deaths and complication due to abortion but they never specify where the deaths and complications are due to safe or unsafe abortion. There is difference between safe or unsafe abortion and reporting accordingly.

LM-abortionStigmaSP-info3-130915_02-1024x1024There was very good discussion among participants and facilitators. One of the media person asked what YOUTHCANN is doing to avoid abortion? Avoid Abortion…….. Well YOUTHCANN never promotes abortion. We are pro-choice and we respect informed choice and decision of every woman. We encourage young people to use modern contraceptive to prevent unwanted pregnancy which may lead to abortion. Even if Government has been giving more emphasis to contraceptive and it is free in almost all the health facilities, women do seek for abortion services. We encourage women and men to have safe and legal abortion which has less complication instead of unsafe traditional abortion which leads to death.

The participants were more curious to know about data on abortion and its failure rate. Also, they were keen to know the percentage of young women going for abortion. They perceive various myths on abortion like:

  • Infographic-2Most of the young unmarried women undergo abortion.
  • Abortion is a crime.
  • Fetus has its right of survival
  • Young people are using abortion as family planning.
  • Repeated abortion is dangerous.
  • Service providers do not want to perform abortion
  • INGOs are promoting abortion.
  • Abortion leads to infertility.
  • Woman needs husband consent for abortion.
  • Young people should not be given SRHR information and access to service.

All these Myths are cleared by the resource person Madhabi and Deepndra Khaniya. Deependra Khaniya is Managing Director of nation’s leading radio station Radio Audio which supports young people’s SRHR and on-air program on safe abortion. Deependra shared that his team receives more than 200 SMS daily from young people between 15 and 24 years which is mostly related to SRHR. Even if we do not allow young people to talk, listen and see SRHR stuffs they will definitely receive information from somewhere which might be incorrect and lead to unexpected situation. These days young people are more prone to social media and it is not always necessary they absorb only good information. Even we are helpless to block or stop the inaccurate information to reach our young people. Therefore, it is our job: media people’s job to clear our own values regarding abortion and provide reliable information to them.

Media should be sensitive when they write articles, news and on-air program on safe abortion. No woman undergoes abortion with her interest. It’s due to some reason and media should analysis those situation. One of youth champion shared that she had read an article which says, “Young girls in school uniform goes to abortion clinics and its increasing.” Well most of our government health facilities are Youth Friendly Service centres. It remains after school to reach most of the young people with information on SRHR. It’s government’s initiation. The YFS centres are in health institutes which provides safe abortion service as well. So, it would be discrimination to young school going girls if we publish on one sided information. May be she was there in health facilities for science project work or her regular meeting with community girls. This kind of bias information only hampers young girls and our country will never progress.

Youth Champion Prabina Sujakhu led value clarification exercise. Upon asking the statement: HIV infected woman should not give birth, most of the participants raise their hand in favor to the statement. The concern was if mother is infected she is not health enough to give birth to healthy baby. Some said infected mother gives birth to infected baby. Upon asking what if she knew pregnant. Most of the participants replied abortion is best option for her. But we facilitator shared its her right whether or not she wants to have her baby and knowing about safe procedure now we have in medicine which protect baby form HIV infection, the participants were forced to rethink.

Likewise, on asking whether husband’s consent is necessary for abortion most of the male participants were in favor to the statement stating mutual decision is the best which won’t lead to disturbance in family. Due to conflict in family, the marriage ends in divorce. But female participants shared that its woman’s body and she has her full right to decide about her pregnancy. There were argument between male and female participants on this statement.

Similarly, on asking abortion is killing fetus all most all the participants agreed upon address fetus as baby and life starts from conception. But the participants seem to be convinced when facilitator shared that there is not any study to show when life begins. Fetus depends on woman’s body as parasite. Life is only counted when it survives with its own.

At the end of the program, a video was shown “News Room Bahira”. The video talks about Sushila Jaisi’s death due to unsafe abortion. This video make the participant realized that even if there is availability of contraception for free of cost, abortion occurs. Abortion is always woman’s last decision. Use of contraception leads to prevent abortion.

The participants shared that this was the first time they had attended session on abortion. They realized bias information leads to #abortionstigma and discrimination. They also promised to contact YOUTHCANN for accurate information and resource materials on abortion as well as SRHR. In deed it was a fruitful orientation.

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Youth Advocacy Institute is Back: ASAP

Call for Applications: ASAP Youth Champions: The 3rd Advocacy Institute for Safe Abortion Rights

The ASAP Youth Advocacy Institute is back!!  

ASAP invites applications from young persons living and working in Asia to join the 3rdAdvocacy Institute for Safe Abortion Rights to be held in Mumbai, India from 8thto 11th Dec 2014.

The 2nd Youth Institute was conducted in Mumbai, India in September 2013. You can read about it here . You can also read the original blog here.

There is a growing need for young champions to take on the role of promoting, protecting and expanding the sexual and reproductive rights of women, men and youth in Asia. The most challenging of these issues is the right to access safe abortion services. Young people need to be able to challenge conservative interpretations that allow cultural practices to be used to restrict the rights of young people, especially young girls and women.

Understanding the gender and human rights dimensions of this struggle are important in building the capacity to be able to hold governments accountable for fulfilling the rights of their citizens. Building alliances with communities and key stakeholders is possible through the use of social networking platforms as well as off line activities.

This institute will cover the following topics:

  • Social construct of Gender
  • Human rights and women’s rights
  • Sexual and reproductive health and rights
  • Safe abortion access as a human right
  • Understanding relevant laws and policies
  • Values clarification
  • Communication skills including social media
  • Use of Facebook, Twitter and blogs for networking

The Institute will encourage leadership skills and engage in strategic planning to develop ongoing involvement. Participants will have further opportunities to work in close collaboration with ASAP country partners through small grants awarded.

Who you are:

  • You are a young person between 18 and 25 years of age, living and/or working in Asia.
  • You have a working knowledge of English.
  • You have at least 3 years’ experience working with issues of sexual and reproductive health in any capacity and you are passionate about the sexual and reproductive rights of young people.
  • You have a good social network of other young people
  • You have good communication skills and know how to use the Internet and smart phones for Facebook, Twitter and blogs.
  • You believe that every girl and woman should have the right to choose if and when she wants to be pregnant and if she wants to continue a pregnancy or not.
  • You can demonstrate how you will use what you learn at the Institute in your work and how you will continue to participate in follow-up activities

What this institute will be:

  •  An exciting and challenging 4 days with intense interactions!
  • In depth engagement with issues of sexual and reproductive health and rights in Asia from a gender and human rights perspective.
  • Learning how to use communication tools and social networking platforms.
  • An opportunity to interact with other young people from across Asia, for an enriching exchanges and sharing of experiences.
  • A chance to make a difference as a champion in your own country
  • Ongoing networking and mentoring support from the ASAP team beyond the workshop
  • Creation of an alumni network to stay involved with the issues and expand your sphere of influence!

Last date for applications: 15th Sept 2014

Please write to organizer on discussions.asap@gmail.com for application forms and for more information.