The Abortion Stigma Project
Abortion is legal in India but access to safe abortion-related information and services is restricted. Stigma attached to abortion makes it difficult for young people, particularly the unmarried, to access abortion-related services. After successful implementation of projects to reduce abortion stigma in Bihar and Jharkhand, a Phase III project titled â€˜Strengthening Young Peoplesâ€™ Access to Stigma-Free Abortion Information and Servicesâ€™ was initiated in November 2018, supported by Packard Foundation. The operational area of the project is the rural (Bakshi ka Talab) and peri-urban (Faizullaganj) areas in the district of Lucknow, Uttar Pradesh, India.
To empower young women to exercise their sexual and reproductive rights; to reduce stigma around sexual activity, unintended pregnancy and abortion, and to create a gender-just society.
- To reduce the incidence of unsafe abortions and stigma related to abortion among communities in selected rural and peri-urban blocks of Lucknow district, Uttar Pradesh, through gender-transformative and rights-based communication.
- To create an enabling environment for poor, vulnerable and young women to access stigma-free and quality-assured abortion services, thus reducing the incidence of unsafe abortions in the projectâ€™s operational areas.
- To document and share evidence and good practices for scaling up initiatives to address abortion stigma.
Comprehensive Sexual Education (CSE) for young people
Young people (over 1,964) in the age group of 10-24, both in school and out of school, completed the CSE curriculum. The CSE curriculum contains seven modules â€“ gender, sexual and reproductive health and HIV, sexual rights and sexual citizenship, pleasure, violence, diversity and relationships.
Intensive Information, Education and Communication (IEC)
IEC meetings are held with different stakeholders to sensitise them on abortion-related stigma and create a conducive environment for young people to access sexual and reproductive health (SRH) and safe abortion services, and to reduce harmful practices.
Sensitisation meetings are held regularly with school authorities, religious and community leaders, ASHA workers and other stakeholders to sensitise them on adolescent sexual and reproductive health and rights issues, and to involve them in effective implementation of the project.
A youth centre was established in Daulatpur village in Bakshi Ka Talab area, covering five adjacent villages catering to 200-250 young people. It will be a safe space where young people meet and exchange views and participate in CSE sessions and discussions on topics that affect youth. The youth centre is also being developed as a place for adolescents to play, talk and develop their skills. It is equipped with in-door and outdoor sports kits and IEC material.