MenEngage Alliance supports the right to safe and legal abortion services. This advocacy position forms part of our solidarity and allyship with the feminist agenda around sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR) for all. Recently, the MenEngage community called on men to speak up as allies around International Safe Abortion Day. As part of this, Jameel Zamir, who represents the International Planned Parenthood Federation’s East & South East Asia and Oceania Region office as a global board member of MenEngage Alliance, discusses male allyship on the issue of abortion.
Access to safe abortion care is a fundamental human right of the bodily autonomy and integrity for all women, girls, and people with diverse identities. To take away their right to choose safe abortion is an act of gender-based violence and is unacceptable. Safe abortion not only upholds the dignity, freedom and wellbeing of all women, girls, people with diverse identities, but also of their partners, families and communities. It affects all of us.
There are growing avenues for safe abortion, of which includes medical abortion via medication instead of surgery, resulting in significant improvements in the landscape amongst those in need of safe abortion around the world, especially amongst marginalised communities and those in hard-to-reach areas. The nature of medical abortion allows easy access to safe abortion via telemedicine or self-administration – making it safe and effective as seen from recent data during Covid-19 lockdowns. We need to reduce the stigma around abortion and ensure that women, girls, and people who can become pregnant have complete legal access to a full range of safe abortion care methods.
According to Guttmacher Institute, a large number of studies suggested that male involvement was positively associated with women’s well-being and their assessment of the abortion experience. As allies, we must continue our support for legal and safe abortion care for women, girls and people who can become pregnant while centering and platforming their voices in this advocacy. We must mobilise our networks, work to transform patriarchal masculinities and create a safe and welcoming space for women, girls, and people with diverse identities to access safe abortion without fear or stigma.
I call upon all men, boys and people of diverse identities to speak up and push for the autonomy and decision-making of women, girls’ and people with diverse identities with regards to their reproductive choices and rights and increasing their access to legal and safe comprehensive abortion care that promote, protect and fulfil the sexual and reproductive rights of all individuals everywhere, in both stable times and humanitarian settings.
Jameel is the Director of Programs at the International Planned Parenthood Federation’s East & South East Asia and Oceania Region office, and a member of the Senior Management Team. He is a member of the White Ribbon Alliance for Safe Motherhood and sits on the Global Board of MenEngage Alliance. Jameel has more than 20 years experience in program development, implementation, evaluation and management of large scale programs in the areas of sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR), youth rights, sexual and gender-based violence and humanitarian response. Jameel holds PhD and a Masters’ degree in Population Studies from the International Institute for Population Sciences.