This handout discusses current issues around the world affecting the rights of HIV-positive women considering childbirth and abortion and calls for research and laws protecting HIV-positive women's access to neutral and comprehensive pregnancy counseling and safe abortions. It is vital to ensure that HIV-positive pregnant women are not coerced into having abortions by those who believe that women living with HIV should not have children. Policies must also respect the decisions HIV-positive women who do want to have an abortion. Lack of safe abortion care is an enormous problem for women living with HIV, as are requests that they agree to sterilization in order to access abortion services. The handout calls for laws guaranteeing reproductive rights; for safe abortion access to be included as an indicator when assessing comprehensive health services for HIV-positive women; neutral and comprehensive pregnancy counseling for women living with HIV; and research on unwanted pregnancy, abortion needs, and abortion care for HIV-positive women. It is authored by Ipas, a non-profit organization dedicated to protecting women's health and reproductive rights.
The Center for HIV Law and Policy challenges barriers to the rights and health of people affected by HIV through legal advocacy, high-impact policy initiatives, and creation of cross-issue partnerships, networks and resources. We support movement building that amplifies the power of individuals and communities to mobilize for change that is rooted in racial, gender and economic justice.