The goal of the Options for Pregnancy Termination (OPTions) Innovation Initiative is to support Bold Ideas with Big Impact® for women’s and girls’ access to safe abortion in low- and middle-income countries. We seek innovative and transformative approaches that put women and girls in control of where, when and how they terminate their pregnancy. The focus of this call is therefore to support the development and testing of: 1) new approaches to increasing early access to existing abortion products and services, and 2) next generation methods of pregnancy termination.
The impact of unsafe abortion is profound. There are more than 25 million unsafe abortions 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 and 22,800 to 31,000 women and girls die annually, making unsafe abortions one of the leading global causes of maternal mortality.
Access to services is often limited due to a wide range of barriers, and there is often limited choice in terms of the method of abortion. These barriers collectively contribute to the staggering number of deaths and disabilities seen annually as a result of unsafe abortion, which are disproportionately felt by the poorest of the poor in developing countries.
The Role of Innovation
Innovation spurs new approaches to existing problems. This is needed to efficiently and effectively focus, develop, and test solutions that respond to this persistent, unsolved challenge in an equitable manner. 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 by increasing access to existing methods of safe abortion, and developing new methods of safe abortion.
Feminist Investment Approach
The OPTions Initiative is in direct alignment with Canada’s Feminist International Assistance Policy, and 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.