Global Doctors for Choice (GDC) is committed to promoting exchange, support, and collaboration among physicians around the world so that they can actively work toward ensuring that all people have the information, access to high quality services, and freedom of choice to make their own reproductive health decisions. Global Doctors for Choice believes that physicians’ commitment to the scientific process and to the best interests of their patients compels them to advocate on behalf of universal access to comprehensive, evidence-based reproductive health care.
The Global Doctors for Choice Approach
Launched in 2007, Global Doctors for Choice (GDC) is a network of physicians around the world who advocate for access to safe reproductive health care. GDC is committed to the defense of human rights and to the provision of high-quality medical care grounded in science. We believe that the doctor’s voice can be a powerful tool in global advocacy efforts that promote reproductive health and rights, and therefore, it is our objective to make doctors’ voices heard across the globe.
Doctors offer scientific authority. They’re devoted to their patients’ best interests and they have a first-hand familiarity with the devastating consequences that can result from lack of care. Physicians advocate for reproductive health and rights at the local level in many different countries, yet they often lack the resources and mechanisms to share their personal experiences and the strategies they have found to be successful in effecting change.
GDC addresses these needs by creating a global network of physician-advocates and by serving as a resource for transferring best practices in advocacy across borders. We create opportunities for doctors to engage in local initiatives that effect change in reproductive health care policy and we provide an infrastructure for them to learn from one another’s experiences. GDC also issues statements against violations of patients’ right to health care and against political incursions on the professional duties and obligations of physicians to serve on behalf of their patients’ best interests.
Additionally, GDC partners with groups from other disciplines, including legal groups, NGOs, transnational agencies, nurses, midwives, and pharmacists, to engage in multi-faceted advocacy efforts and to strengthen the network of professionals working together for women’s reproductive health and justice.
Global Doctors for Choice Objectives
- To train doctors to be effective participants in debates related to science, evidence-based medical care, and human rights in the politically contentious domain of reproductive health
- To provide physicians with reproductive health advocacy skills and tools that are adaptable to a variety of local situations
- To collaborate with key transnational, regional, and local organizations to identify opportunities for physician-advocacy
- To draw international attention to health care policies and practices that are harmful to patients, including those limiting or delaying the provision of necessary and appropriate medical care
- To identify and combat political incursions on the professional duties of physicians to provide appropriate medical care
- To promote the obligation for physicians to advocate for evidence-based medical practice and their patients’ best interests
- To serve as a comprehensive resource center of key doctor strategies and authoritative medical position statements
- To improve access to reproductive health services around the world
Programs and Activities
GDC has action centers in Brazil, Colombia, Ghana, Mexico, and South Africa, and our coordinating office is located in the United States. Each country chapter is headed by two lead doctors that work closely with a multi-disciplinary advisory group.
The Global Doctors for Choice approach
GDC conducts advocacy-training workshops for physicians and collaborators. Using customized training curricula that are adaptable to diverse local contexts, GDC teaches physicians how to develop strategies that will help them ensure access to quality reproductive health care in their respective countries. After training, GDC physician-advocates hone their new advocacy skills by participating in local reproductive health and justice advocacy initiatives.
GDC also engages in transnational and regional policy discourse, participating in international conferences and hosting events, as well as issuing topical position statements. GDC’s rapid growth reflects the enthusiastic support it has garnered from the medical community and colleague organizations around the world.