Eunice Brookman-Amissah honoured with Right Livelihood Award for transforming safe abortion access in Africa

STOCKHOLM – 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.”

Brookman-Amissah is holding an online press conference today, Thursday, September 28, at 13:00 CEST. Register here.

“Eunice Brookman-Amissah is a legend and reference point when talking about women’s reproductive rights and access to safe abortion in Africa, a continent where more than two-thirds of all abortions remain unsafe,” said Ole von Uexkull, Executive Director at Right Livelihood. “Her 30 years of relentless advocacy helped to move the discussion about abortion from taboo into the healthcare arena, influencing debates and legal reforms all around the region.”

The other 2023 Right Livelihood Laureates are:

Register for the press conferences here.

The 2023 Laureates will be honoured during a televised Award Presentation in Stockholm on Wednesday, November 29.

Find more information about the Laureates here.

Photos and videos of the new Laureates can be found here.

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About Right Livelihood

For over 40 years, Right Livelihood has honoured and supported courageous people solving global problems. Housed under the umbrella of a foundation, Right Livelihood is a courage-powered community for social change committed to peace, justice and sustainability for all.

Each year, Right Livelihood highlights change-makers through an Award. To date, 194 Laureates from 76 countries have received the distinction. By recognising the actions of brave visionaries and building impactful connections around the world, Right Livelihood boosts urgent and long-term social change.

The Award was founded in 1980 following the Nobel Foundation’s rejection of a proposal to create two new prizes to honour individuals committed to advancing social justice and environmental causes, especially highlighting change-makers from the Global South.

Today, the work of Right Livelihood goes beyond presenting the Award: the Foundation provides Laureates with life-long support. Right Livelihood is a megaphone and a shield: raising their profile, providing protection when their lives and liberty are in danger, and educating people on their innovative solutions.

Right Livelihood is headquartered in Stockholm, with an office in Geneva. The Foundation has Consultative Status with the UN.