Ipas is a global non-profit organization that works around the world to eliminate deaths and injuries from unsafe abortion and increase women's ability to exercise their sexual and reproductive rights. Ipas’s work is grounded in the belief that women everywhere must have the opportunity to determine their futures, care for their families and manage their fertility.
Ipas works to improve women's access and right to safe abortion care and reproductive health services by:
Training doctors, nurses, and midwivesin clinical and counseling skills for abortion, postabortion care and family planning;
Improving health-service delivery to make abortion safer and more accessible for women and less costly for the health system;
Researching the impact of unsafe abortion and documenting best abortion care practices and policies;
Working with advocates and policymakers around the world to support women’s reproductive rights and increase access to safe and legal abortion services;
Engaging with women and men in their communities to expand their knowledge of reproductive health and reproductive rights
Increasing access to reproductive health technologies, including manual vacuum aspiration (MVA) and medical abortion.
Beginning in 1971, the United States Agency for International Development’s (USAID) Office of Population funded Battelle Laboratories’ work to develop nonelectric vacuum aspiration for uterine evacuation. But in 1973, Congress passed the Helms Amendment to the US Foreign Assistance Act, prohibiting the use of any US foreign aid to support abortion services overseas. In response, a group of researchers and others affiliated with the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill came together to complete development of the manual vacuum aspiration (MVA) technology that Battelle had begun. IPAS — International Pregnancy Advisory Services — was born.Along with the manufacture and distribution of MVA instruments, Ipas’s initial focus was on establishing freestanding abortion clinics in developing countries. Between 1974 and 1980, Ipas supported the opening of 13 clinics in 11 countries.Throughout the 80s and early 90s, Ipas increased its role in the international health arena, helping to increase understanding that unsafe abortion is a significant cause of maternal deaths and injuries, and therefore a public health concern. Ipas coined the term “postabortion care,” which was rapidly embraced by the reproductive health community, including USAID. We undertook important research to inform health systems and guide decisionmaking for service delivery. We began working with national and international policymakers to improve reproductive health policies at every level. And we continued to train health-care providers to deliver woman-centered abortion and postabortion care to the full extent of the law in their countries.We quickly outgrew our original name. But because we were well-known in international reproductive health circles, we didn’t want to lose it completely. Hence, we left the acronym behind and became simply “Ipas” in 1993.