International Planned Parenthood calls to ‘prioritize’ ‘sexual… rights’ as Gaza affiliate is destroyed

Planned Parenthood, Israel, Palestine

International Planned Parenthood Federation (IPPF) has released a media statement on behalf of itself and the Palestinian Family Planning and Protection Association (PFPPA), its member association which has been impacted by the current violence in Palestine and Israel.

The groups’ statement reads, “Sexual and reproductive health and rights must be prioritized now in Palestine, especially for women, girls, and the most vulnerable and marginalized groups among them, who have already been facing a protracted humanitarian crisis for decades.”



Most preborn children are protected from abortion in Gaza and the West Bank, as Article 8 of Palestinian Public Health Law No. 20 states that abortion is prohibited, except in situations to save the mother’s life. Yet PFPPA has at least five locations between the West Bank and Gaza, with one listing ‘abortion referral’ as a service.

One woman shared her personal story of accessing abortion pills through PFPPA, as did another. PFPPA is an independent, non-profit, and non-governmental association.

Despite the country’s laws, an abortion funding group has been distributing abortion pills to women. This group, the Safe Action Abortion Fund, has also given money to PFPPA at least twice since 2014, and states:

The current abortion law [in Palestine] unfairly pushes women to risk their lives and health to attempt to end their unwanted pregnancies in unsafe ways. In this context, PFPPA has been working since 1964, to provide sexual and reproductive healthcare and advocate for women’s rights. Having received two grants from SAAF since 2014, they have been working on the lack of access to safe abortion in the country with a focus on increasing their provision of abortion-related services and advocating at community and national level for changes to the abortion law.

The SAA Fund even published the following by Dr. Sahar Qawasmi, a pro-PFPPA member of the Palestinian Legislative Council, regarding how “much easier” it is for the abortion industry under Islamic beliefs as opposed to Christian beliefs:

We still don’t have a law that allows abortion in cases of rape and we see young girls who have been raped and can’t access safe abortion so end up having to give birth which is a tragedy. Our laws are very far from what we need.

Although the culture is restrictive, I think in Islam it is easier than Christianity, as in Islam it is believed that there is no soul for the first four months of pregnancy so for us it is much easier, we just need the regulations.

In a separate media statement, PFPPA announced that its Gaza facility is now “unusable” after it was “destroyed following an Israeli airstrike to an adjacent building” on October 8. This facility lists family planning, STI treatments, and pre-and post-natal care among its services. Neither abortion nor abortion services were specifically mentioned as services offered at that location.

The group says the destruction of this facility has “completely cut[] off their ability to offer healthcare to women who have already been systematically denied sexual and reproductive healthcare and rights by the Israeli occupation.”

“Palestinians are systematically denied sexual and reproductive healthcare and rights,” Ammal Awadallah, executive director of PFPPA, said. “Our health system has been repeatedly targeted and depleted by the Israeli occupation, and the more it disintegrates, the more it will hinder the full realization of these rights for women and girls.”

Awadallah called for humanitarian aid to be allowed into Gaza to help assist 37,000 pregnant women, who face giving birth with no electricity and a lack of medical supplies. She said they could face “life-threatening complications without access to delivery and emergency obstetric care services.”

Similarly, mere weeks following the war breaking out in Ukraine in 2022, IPPF began instructing women about how to obtain abortions amidst the violence. Pro-abortion groups even began smuggling abortion pills into the nation.

IPPF’s focus appears to be continuing its efforts to increase access to birth control and abortion, while countless families face violent attacks and the loss of spouses, children, and parents. The people of Gaza, the West Bank, and Israel need basic supplies like water, food, and medical care to survive — not more death. Not abortion.

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