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Assessing the need for safe abortion services among Somali refugees in Ethiopia

Suzanne Petroni, International Center for Research on Women

Project abstract

There are some 60 million refugees in the world today, a high proportion of whom are women of reproductive age. Although women have a legal right to safe abortion in many countries where refugees live, including Ethiopia, it is not known whether refugee women are aware of this right or utilize available existing services. This lack of evidence is used by major humanitarian actors, such as the U.S. Department of State and UNHCR, as an excuse to not fund safe abortion services. By providing reliable, rigorous and scientifically grounded evidence on the need for safe abortion services, at least as a result of rape and incest, in refugee settings, and by using this evidence to inform the development and delivery of programs and policies for refugee women worldwide, this project will support SFP's goal of securing access to safe abortion. Specifically, we will: 1) Assess the need for safe abortion in cases of rape and incest among Somali refugees in Ethiopia; 2) Document the range of existing reproductive health services available to refugee women in these settings; and 3) Identify the barriers to and facilitators of access to these services. We will also test a new method to estimate unmet need for abortion among women in conflict-affected settings that can be utilized by others. Findings will be shared with service providers, program implementers, advocates and policy makers to inform programs, policies and investments, and to advocate for safe abortion programs for refugees in Ethiopia and globally.


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