Women on Web Newsletter | December Issue
This month we look at some of the highlights of 2021 and what Women on Web has in store for 2022!
Women on Web is an international online telemedicine abortion service, with 15 years of experience in supporting people to self-manage their abortions with abortion pills. We are a team of doctors, researchers and activists working towards expanding abortion access and providing accurate and unbiased information about abortions. Read more about our work here.
Women on Web Celebrated its 15-year Anniversary in 2021!
In the spring of 2021, Women on Web officially celebrated 15 years in operation! Women on Web began as a telemedicine abortion service – the first of its kind – in 2006 and never looked back. We are so proud of how far we’ve come and the work we’ve done. We have watched our service grow and impact people, policies, and legislation worldwide. We’re grateful to still be able to do the work we’re passionate about and provide quality abortion care to women and pregnant people all over the world.
Women on Web Welcomed a new Executive Director!
It is with great excitement that Women on Web welcomed its new leader this year, Venny Ala-Siurua. Our founder, director, and fearless leader, Dr Rebecca Gomperts, stepped down after 15 years to focus on new and exciting prospects as our research director, and will carry on leading our cutting-edge research team. Venny brings with her over 10 years of experience in social protection and international development, and we’re excited to see the new heights to which she will surely take the organization.
Women on Web and Poland’s near-total abortion ban
Since officially coming into effect in February, Poland’s new draconian abortion law that prohibits women and pregnant people with fetal indications from receiving abortion care has wreaked havoc on the country: one young woman recently died due to a lack of care, and abortion activists have been arrested. Upon its enactment, Women on Web pledged to offer free medical abortions to Polish people seeking our service in their second trimester with fetal indications. In 2021, we have answered 24,000 messages from Poland and we will continue to provide free provisions to Polish women and advocate for the eradication of the near-total ban on abortions.
Women on Web published 9 research studies!
Women on Web data continues to contribute to medical research and our telemedicine abortion service was used in nine different research papers published this past year. We provided research on the effects of COVID-19 on abortion provision in countries such as France and Italy, looked at the impact of local telemedicine provision in Ireland, studied the impact of the pandemic on abortion access in Europe and other parts of the world, wrapped up a 10-year evaluative study on the follow-up data of nearly 30,000 women who have used our service. To see a full list of our recent research projects, click here.
Women on Web’s Abortion Robots are Back!
In 2021, Women on Web saw a resurgence of campaigns as our abortion robots participated in demonstrations in both Malta and Mexico. Mexico was particularly notable, as our team operated not just 1 but 11 robots in across Mexico. We were very fortunate to join 80 other local groups to organize demonstrations in 11 Mexican states to demand all states to adhere to the Mexican Supreme Court’s recent decision to decriminalize abortion. The “rAborta” protest resulted in coverage of over 100 publications by both local and global news outlets. To read more click here and watch a short documentary about rAborta, click here
Women on Web and Digital Rights
Women on Web continued to struggle with censorship in 2021 and unfortunately, we experienced another impactful Google Core Update. In May 2020, we lost 80% of our website’s traffic due to a routine update to Google’s search engine algorithm and in November 2021, we experienced another one that diminished our traffic by 30%. Overall, our websites continue to be censored in 6 countries and we have encountered frequent blocking of our Facebook and Instagram accounts.
Women on Web’s Service in 2021… And what’s in store for 2022!
In 2021, our medical team is expected to have received a total of 40,000 requests for abortion care and our help desk will have answered nearly 100,000 messages from women and pregnant people around the world. This year we expanded our service and began offering our website in two additional languages (Lithuanian and Slovakian). We also provided new research on the value of telemedicine: not only in the face of barriers created by the pandemic, but as a preferred method of abortion with the potential to democratize access and improve the quality of abortion services.
In the coming year, we will continue providing private and safe medical abortion services and highlighting the demand for telemedicine abortion provision through our research and advocacy. We will keep on fighting for transparent and accountable digital governance, and we plan on seeing a lot more of our robots in 2022!
Support Women on Web
Lastly, we would like to thank everyone who supported our work this past year so we can continue to provide safe abortion services through our website and digital platforms. A special thanks to those who donated to our International Safe Abortion Day campaign, Take Back the Ban. You raised nearly $6000 for safe, effective telemedicine abortion provision.
Our service cannot survive without the generous help of our donors. Please donate to Women on Web and set up a recurring donation here. Your donation will enable us to maintain our quality telemedicine service.
From all of us at Women on Web, we wish you happy holidays and see you in 2022!