Empowering Choice in the Mediterranean 

Introducing the Movement for Abortion Rights and Access (MARA)

We are thrilled to introduce our groundbreaking movement dedicated to abortion advocacy, rights and access in the Mediterranean, which we launched with an event at the Arab World Institute in Paris, France with the participation of over 100 people. 

MARA is a movement of regional health and human rights activists committed to building support and a vibrant intersectional network of advocates for safe and quality abortion in the Mediterranean region. As part of an integral network of global advocates, we are glad to launch MARA to channel the voices of local groups and activists to regional and international advocacy spaces and to empower choice in the Mediterranean region.

A brief history: From RAWSA-MENA to MARA-Med

In the ever-evolving landscape of abortion rights and access, our movement is a fresh bloom. Before the launch of MARA, the Rights and Access of Women to Safe Abortion: Middle East & North Africa Regional Network (RAWSA-MENA) was established in 2019 as part of the International Safe Abortion Campaign’s regional networks. 

RAWSA-MENA served as a platform, bringing together a diverse array of individuals, including activists, journalists, researchers, healthcare professionals, and youth, all dedicated to addressing abortion-related issues in their countries. Combining local efforts, RAWSA-MENA embarked on a journey to meticulously document the reality of abortion in the MENA region, where abortion rights and access are significantly undermined due to restrictive legal frameworks, stigma, and patriarchy. This endeavor not only revealed that abortion remains a silenced reality in the region, but also highlighted the strength and expertise of local groups and individuals working on abortion rights and access. This was a powerful revelation and illuminated the potential to unite our collective strengths to establish a robust movement: RAWSA-MENA thereby laid the foundation upon which our current movement, MARA-Med, proudly stands.

Why a regional platform? 

MARA-Med is born from a shared commitment to ensuring that all individuals in the Mediterranean region have access to safe and quality abortion care. The experience of RAWSA-MENA has been instrumental in emphasizing the significance of collective advocacy at the regional level. It has taught us that to address complex issues like abortion rights and access effectively, collaboration is paramount. Building on this valuable insight, we decided to take our efforts a step further to work at the broader Mediterranean level. 

The Mediterranean region is diverse, with both northern and southern shores offering distinct realities when it comes to abortion rights and access. These differences, while presenting challenges, are also rich in learning opportunities. Our vision for MARA-Med is not only to promote access to safe abortion for all women as a basic health priority and an inalienable human right, but also to create a platform for solidarity, mutual learning, dialogue and collaboration that transcends geographical boundaries and legal frameworks. We believe that together we can break down barriers, empower choice without borders, and champion bodily autonomy for all.