Eunice Brookman-Amissah, a Ghanaian safe abortion access advocate and physician, is among the recipients of this year’s Right Livelihood Award for initiating discussions on women’s reproductive rights in Africa and uniting decision-makers across the region to expand the criteria for legal abortions.
For over 40 years, the Right Livelihood Award has honoured and supported courageous people solving global problems. To date, 194 Laureates from 76 countries have received the Award, including Ukrainian human rights defender Oleksandra Matviichuk, Congolese gynaecologist and women’s rights advocate Dr Denis Mukwege and Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg.
Brookman-Amissah has spearheaded high-level advocacy, sensitisation programs, and training on women’s reproductive rights, bringing together healthcare providers, government officials, lawyers, and activists to support abortion law reforms in Mozambique, Sierra Leone, Benin, Eswatini and Kenya. She has also improved the implementation of abortion laws in Ghana, Zambia, Malawi, Senegal and Mauritius.
But, Brookman-Amissah’s fearless pursuit of safe abortion access has not come without challenges. She has faced threats to her life from extremist anti-abortion groups, but her determination to end needless deaths and disabilities from unsafe abortions in Africa has remained unwavering. Her work has contributed to a 40 per cent decline in abortion-related deaths in Sub-Saharan Africa since 2000.
Right Livelihood’s jury said that Brookman-Amissah was receiving the Award “for pioneering discussions on women’s reproductive rights in Africa, paving the way for liberalised abortion laws and improved safe abortion access.”
She is receiving an honorary Right Livelihood Award, which does not come with a cash prize.
“It is an honour to have my work, and my colleagues’ work across Africa, recognised,” said Brookman-Amissah. “I am grateful that it will bring awareness to the issue of unsafe abortions, which, even in the 21st century, remains a contentious topic.”