From the 14th-15th of October 2016, I participated as the representative of YSAFE in the FIAPAC Conference in Lisbon, Portugal. The FIAPAC is a federation that, among other things, works to give all women the freedom to choose whether they wish to remain pregnant or not. The conference is mainly attended by service providers but also women’s rights advocates.
I appreciated the great opportunity to expand my knowledge in the area of abortion but was struck by the lack of youth at the conference.
There were very few young people among the participants. Regarding the programme, the only presentation on youth was part of the session facilitated by IPPF. This is an issue, because there is an undue burden on young women in relation to unsafe abortion. Taking this into account, having young people as advocates for abortion rights will strengthen and legitimize the message as they are advocating for their own rights to safe abortion.
During the closing remarks, it was said: “Post-graduate students are the best ones to work with because they have never learnt to put the brakes on themselves, which paves the way for break-throughs!” This gives an indication that the Federation recognizes the lack of youth and that more youth involvement is needed.