The goal of the Options for Pregnancy Termination (OPTions) Innovation Initiative is to support Bold Ideas with Big Impact.® We seek innovative and transformative approaches that put women and girls in control of where, when, and how they terminate their pregnancy. Our focus is to support the development and testing of:
1) New approaches to increasing early access to existing abortion products and services in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs)
2) Next generation methods of pregnancy termination.
The impact of unsafe abortion on women and girls is profound. There are more than 25 million unsafe abortions performed annually. The vast majority of which – about 97% – occur in the developing world. As a result, approximately 7 million women and girls are admitted to health facilities with complications. Another 22,800 to 31,000 women and girls die annually from unsafe abortions, making it one of the leading global causes of maternal mortality.
Access to abortion services is often limited due to a wide range of barriers, such as socioeconomic status, location, and education. Furthermore, there is also a limited choice in terms of the method of abortion (surgical and pill form). Collectively, these barriers contribute to the staggering number of deaths and disabilities seen annually as a result of unsafe abortion. This health burden is disproportionately felt by the poorest of the poor in developing countries.
The Role of Innovation
Innovation drives new approaches to existing problems. Innovations are efficiently and effectively focus, develop, and test solutions that respond to a persistent and unsolved challenge equitably. The impact of integrating scientific/technological, social, and business innovation – known as Integrated Innovation – can transform the accessibility and effectiveness of safe abortion products and services. Integrated innovation methods increase access to existing methods of safe abortion and develop the next generation methods of safe abortion.
Feminist Investment Approach
The OPTions Initiative is in direct alignment with Canada’s Feminist International Assistance Policy. It applies a feminist investment approach that places an explicit focus on gender equality and the empowerment of women and girls in order to drive progress toward the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals, particularly Goal Five: Achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls.