Length: 20 mins
Source: Palestine Family Planning and Protection Association, IPPF Member Association.
The video highlights the problem of unsafe abortion in Occupied Palestinian Territories; how it is performed, why it is done and ways to reduce the number of abortions, such us the use of family planning methods, emergency contraception, and how to support the right of women to decide if and when to get pregnant, and if they decided to have an abortion necessary, where they can do so safely.
Abortion is severely restricted in the Occupied Palestinian Territories (OPT). To overcome the prevailing restrictions around abortion, many women with unwanted pregnancies turn to private clinics or use traditional methods at home, risking unsafe abortion.
This is a threat to women's lives and increases the morbidity and mortality rate.
The lack of access to adequate information, coupled with limited access to contraceptive methods, the prevailing religious strictures and policies in place, contribute to increasing rates of unsafe abortion in Palestine.
For these reasons, the Palestine Family Planning and Protection Association (PFPPA) in 2006 recognized the need to produce materials that address abortion-related issues through an approachable medium from which all women, regardless of socio-economic status, could benefit. The result was a videocassette that includes interviews with women, and provides information on the physiological implications and complications of unsafe abortion.
This video is considered the first one that discusses the issue of abortion in Palestine. The video includes four main aspects:
The first part of the video is on medical aspects of abortion and unsafe abortion, why it is performed, how and where it is performed and what are the dangers of using the unsafe abortion method and how women can avoid it. These questions were answered by PFPPA doctors in addition to interviews with Palestinian women who had had an abortion or an unsafe abortion.
In order to explain the Palestinian abortion law PFPPA legal counselor explained what is allowed and what is forbidden in the Palestinian law concerning abortion.
In addition, the video examined the psycho-social effects of abortion on women through interviews with PFPPA social worker, who explained how these women should be supported and what PFPPA is doing to support them in PFPPA clinics and at their homes.
Finally, the video emphasised the importance of contraception to avoid abortions and unwanted pregnancies. PFPPA nurses illustrated all the existing contraception methods and explained PFPPA’s services related to abortion. PFPPA’s clients were also interviewed on their experiences and changes in their lives after they started using the family planning methods.
How the video was used
The video was distributed to PFPPA clinics and refugee camps to be used during awareness sessions. PFPPA introduced the abortion issue to the public and got their initial feedback, and then people watched the video and attended group discussions on the issue of abortion and discussed if their thoughts on abortion and family planning methods had changed or not.
The video was also broadcast on a local TV station in Bethlehem, many people called the station and asked to see it again because they considered the subject important and sensitive.
The video was also provided to other organizations, both governmental and non-governmental, to be used in community awareness sessions, training sessions, meetings with decision makers, and religious leaders to increase advocacy for women’s access to reproductive health information and services.
In total, the video was shown to more than 1,000 women, community leaders, decision makers and religious leaders during 40 workshops and awareness raising sessions. Many of those who watched the video said that it was effective and well done, and gave them new and valuable information about abortion and unsafe abortion.
Ms. Abeer Al-Mashayekh, a 33-year old woman from Ayda Refugee Camp who watched the video said "I was married at 15 years old, and due to a lack of information about, and access to, contraceptive methods, I had undergone recurrent unsafe abortions. This video provided me with very important information that I will be following in my life to avoid any abortion. All the women should watch this video".
Ms. Rghda Da'ajneh, a 29 years old from Bayt Jebreen (Al aza) refugee camp who watched the video said:
"I really encourage using such methods to educate the women. I like this video because it is not boring and it is not a traditional way to raise our awareness on abortion. The most important thing in this video is that we could understand how abortions are performed. I cannot forget it now; it gave us medical and legal explanation about the abortion. I will now talk to my friends and raise their awareness on this issue".