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Abortion rights worldwide

Waiting room, pale blue backless gowns. One woman said it was her third. She said “it ain’t fun”… I didn’t want to see her again. I took a white pill to help. We all took a white pill, though she tried to get a few. The other waiting woman didn’t speak at all. Into the surgery room, legs in stirrups, familiar enough, quick prick, ouch, business-like doctor, plastic and metal tubes, cold, cool, smooth hose, feelingless inside me, noise, talking, checking, white lights, pads between my thighs, rolling off the table, into another waiting room. Sort of quiet. Blood.

Instructions. Sigh.

Quote from an anonymous donor to Mama Cash 

Boss of our own body

That sounds more obvious than it is. Worldwide, 42% of all women of reproductive age live in the 125 countries where abortion is still banned under virtually all circumstances. In the Netherlands too, abortion is - again - a topical issue. Over the past few months, a debate has arisen about rising government subsidies for organisations that claim to offer neutral abortion assistance but that, according to investigative journalists, try to stop women from having an abortion.

Access to safe and legal abortion saves lives. Besides, women have the right to choose whether and when they want to give birth to a child. Limited access to abortion represents a much broader phenomenon that we have to address: legislation that rules the bodies of women, largely made by politicians and policy makers who do not have such a body themselves.

The good news is that activists are fighting bans on abortion. Recently, in Ireland and Chile, they were successful. Over and over feminists come into action to secure the (unconditional) right to abortion. These include groups that receive support from Mama Cash, such as our Chilean partner Nosotras Decidimos Valparaíso and Ponton in Poland. They are lobbying. They act. They work together with pharmacists and midwives. They search and find ways to make abortion available to everyone who needs it.

MARIA fund

"Girls and women are frequently followed, arrested, and imprisoned for having terminated their pregnancy." Oriana López Uribe, Mama Cash board member and involved with the MARIA Fund, talks about her work to improve access to a safe and legal abortion for women in Mexico.

Podcast about abortion

In our Podcast Tea with Mama Cash, our Executive Director Zohra Moosa and Director of Programmes Happy Mwende Kinyili talk about abortion, including why “abortion is used as a kind of political football” and how feminist activists have been working to change oppressive laws. Listen to this episode here.


Our grantee-partners are fighting for choice

The Dutch support group ANA helps women from European countries where abortion is a punishable offence or when it is only legally allowed until 12 weeks, to come to the Netherlands and have an abortion here. Learn more about their work.


Briefing: Reproductive Justice

Awareness-raising and advocacy to secure reproductive justice is a core area of feminist activism. Supporting women’s, girls’, trans and intersex people’s activism to claim and enjoy their bodily autonomy and agency has always been part of Mama Cash’s work.
In the last three years (2016-2018), we have given out approximately €2.12 million in grants to 34 groups advocating for reproductive justice in 27 different countries. In our briefing, My Body Is Mine, we discuss our approach to supporting reproductive justice work and share some of the stories of our grantee-partners doing brave and visionary work to challenge restrictive and punishing social norms, and to create new norms that centre pleasure, freedom and choice.