The Later Abortion Initiative intends to change the conversation around later abortion and the women who need this service.
Access to later abortion (defined as abortion occurring after the first trimester of pregnancy) is a critical women’s reproductive health, rights, and justice issue. While abortion continues to be a politically contentious and divisive issue, later abortion is marginalized even among those who otherwise support abortion rights. Women who need later abortions are younger and more economically vulnerable than those who seek first-trimester abortion care, yet polling indicates public support for later abortion is significantly lower than for earlier abortion. Legal restrictions, higher costs, and fewer providers mean that women who need later abortions must overcome many obstacles to access care. At later gestations, access to high-quality abortion services becomes more contested, restricted, and inaccessible.
The Later Abortion Initiative (LAI), a project of Ibis Reproductive Health, will change the conversation around later abortion and the women who need this service. LAI particularly focuses on the increased stigma, challenges and barriers for women who need abortions after 18 weeks. LAI will support the development of innovative activities and new leadership on later abortion, and support efforts to preserve and expand access to later abortion care. Building on previous work by colleagues around the country and in collaboration with other organizations, including the Later Abortion Network, LAI will develop an ambitious program of work to:
- Improve referrals for later abortion care, including by collaborating with Maternal Fetal Medicine (MFM) colleagues and others to improve access to care
- Increase the number of sites where later abortion is available and create support for clinics that currently provide vital later abortion care
- Identify training resources to expand the number of physicians who can perform later abortion, especially at 20 weeks’ gestation and beyond
- Collaborate with reproductive justice and reproductive rights organizations to identify how and where later abortion fits into their work and to raise the visibility of the issue across the reproductive health, rights, and justice movement
- Develop an ambitious research agenda , including assessing the impact of later abortion restrictions and clinical best practices
- Work with communications, messaging and public relations experts to build support for later abortion and fight restrictions on later abortion at the state level
- Expand www.laterabortion.org to ensure that it is a resource to promote evidence-based information to all stakeholders working on or requiring information about later abortion
- Provide a range of venues to share information, ensure coordination of efforts and to catalyze collaboration among organizations working on later abortion issues
In 2015, we will consult with stakeholders in a wide range of organizations to develop a long-term strategy and effective structure for LAI to ensure that women have access to abortion care regardless of when they decide that they need to terminate their pregnancy.