The Center for Reproductive Rights recently hosted a session at the Asia Pro Bono Conference & Access to Justice Exchange to highlight the need for decriminalization of abortion in Asia to ensure better, safer abortion access throughout the region. The session, held September 25 and titled “Regional Advocacy for Decriminalization of Abortion in Asia and Role of Pro-Bono Partners,” stressed that criminal bans on abortion violate the fundamental rights of women and girls, including their rights to life, health, dignity, and privacy.
Hosted virtually from September 23-26, the conference brought together advocates and activists on human rights and access to justice from Asian countries and pro bono firms. This was the 10th annual conference and it was attended by over 700 participants from more than 40 countries. The conference celebrates and emphasizes pro bono legal work and legal ethics, discussing ways to further the outreach of the pro bono ethos and impact throughout Asia and around the globe.
The Center’s session on abortion decriminalization discussed the impacts of abortion laws in Asia on pregnant persons’ lives, rights, and well-being, using examples of two countries with diverse legal frameworks: Nepal, with a very liberal legal setting, and the Philippines, which has a highly restrictive legal framework. The session also addressed the initiatives and successes that the Center and its partners, including pro-bono partners, have taken so far to decriminalize abortion in Asia.
The Center’s Prabina Bajracharya, Capacity Building Manager, facilitated and presented at the session.
Other speakers included:
- Sabin Shrestha, Executive Director of Forum for Women, Law and Development (FWLD) Nepal
- Clara Rita Padilia “Claire,” Executive Director, EnGendeRights Philippines
- Claire Fourel, Senior Associate, International Pro Bono Manager, Ashurst LLP
The Asia Pro Bono Conference & Access to Justice Exchange is an annual event for lawyers, academics, law students, pro bono professionals, members of civil society, and more to engage with peers around improving the lives of marginalized communities in the region through pro bono and advocacy work. This year’s conference gathered global human rights leaders to collaborate and share learnings for the purpose of strengthening pro bono initiatives and increasing access to justice.