SAIGE Technical Guidance Paper: Decriminalisation of Abortion

This technical guidance paper aims to provide a tool for advocates seeking to challenge criminalisation of abortion, including understanding how and why full decriminalisation can increase access to safe and legal abortion. Laws and policies play a critical role in determining an individual’s access to safe abortion services. The public health and social justice impact of abortion criminalisation with exceptions have been clearly articulated by human rights bodies and experts: rather than making abortion safer, improving health or lives, or reducing the incidence of abortion, such laws actually lead to less safe abortions, worse health outcomes, and harm to women’s status in society by perpetuating gender stereotypes and abortion stigma.