Statement from Global Doctors for Choice Brazil (Rede Médica pelo Direito de Decidir) regarding the suspension of legal abortion services in Brazil in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic.
GDC Successfully Appeals to UN Human Rights Council
GDC signed a joint statement to request the UN Human Rights Council during its 41st session (June 24 – July 12, 2019) to respect, protect, and fulfill adolescent and youth sexual reproductive and health and rights.
The statement was signed by over 300 CSOs and drafted by the Asian-Pacific Resource and Research Centre for Women (ARROW), AWID, Centre for Reproductive Rights, CHOICE for Youth and Sexuality, HIVOS, International Planned Parenthood Federation (IPPF), Plan International, Rutgers, Sexual Rights Initiative, Swedish Association for Sexuality and Education, and Youth Coalition.
We are happy to report that the Council adopted a positive resolution.
Victory Decision in Kenya
The Nairobi High Court decided that the Director of Medical Services and Ministry of Health violated the rights of Kenyan women and girls when they arbitrarily withdrew the “Standard and Guidelines for Reducing Morbidity and Mortality from Unsafe Abortion in Kenya” and thus created uncertainty regarding the legal status of abortion and discouraged practitioners from providing abortions out of fear of prosecution. Additionally, the High Court ruled that survivors of rape have the right to an abortion.
Congratulations to the Doctors for Choice Kenya team for their persistence to advocate against the withdrawal. Also, we send gratitude to the Doctors for Choice Kenya team who contributed to the creation, content, and approval of both the Standard and Guidelines and the 2019 Post Abortion Care Guidelines to help ensure high quality of health care provision.
GDC/Colombia Defines Obstetric Violence
In the article, “We have to talk about obstetric violence“*, the GDC/Colombia team explains that obstetric violence is dehumanizing medical abuse that occurs during reproductive heath care provision, which results in lost of autonomy and freedom of choice regarding ones body and sexuality and thus negatively impacts quality of life. Further, obstetric violence is linked to other forms of discrimination including race, ethnicity, gender, age, sexuality, and/or socioeconomic class.
*This article is in Spanish.
Ciencia y Tecnología (Science and Technology)
Insight from GDC’s Croatian Member
Dr. Valentina Marinović, a GDC in Croatia, shared news of the anti-choice movement’s increased momentum prior to the European Parliament Elections and the pro-choice movement’s attempt at resistance.
Doctors for Choice Kenya’s Success with Post Abortion Care Guidelines
GDC’s partner organization Doctors for Choice Kenya collaborated with the Ministry of Health to create and receive approval for the Post Abortion Care (PAC) Guidelines. Considering the local context, this is a huge accomplishment that will help ensure providers can offer high-quality care and help combat abortion stigma.
November 1, 2018
GDC’s Dr. Chavkin on Conscientious Objection in the U.S.
GDC co-founder and Board member Dr. Wendy Chavkin co-authored “Balancing Freedom of Conscience and Equitable Access.” In it, the authors state that a newly created Conscientious and Religious Freedom Division of the U.S. government and its new rule to “protect” conscientious objectors will give a green light to those who invoke claims of conscience as a way to oppose social and political changes. The authors believe that privileging these claims infringes on the conscience and rights of those holding different beliefs.
American Journal of Public Health (AJPH)
October 31, 2018
GDC/Brazil: Difficulties accessing and implementing legal abortion in Brazil
The NGO Article 19 hosted a debate regarding the Report on Legal Abortion and Transparency, during which GDC/Brazil’s Dr. Cristiao Rosas presented on the “Difficulties in accessing and implementing legal abortion services in Brazil.” Then others shared their perspectives (i.e., Global Health Strategies and Genero). The final portion consisted of a question and answer session with the audience.
*This video is in Portuguese.
October 30, 2018
GDC’s Drs. Wendy Chavkin and Mary Favier’s Abortion Study Published
Drs. Wendy Chavkin and Mary Favier’s “Implementing and expanding safe abortion care: an international comparative case study of six countries” was written collaboratively and published by the International Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology. This comparative study examined the implementation of laws that expanded abortion services in Colombia, Ethiopia, Ghana, Portugal, South Africa, and Uruguay. Political will was found to be the key factor in implementation.
The International Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology
October 22, 2018
GDC’s Dr. Chavkin Op-Ed on Conscientious Objection
As the Irish government is grappling with the implementation of the new law to allow abortion, The Irish Times published Dr. Wendy Chavkin’s op-ed on conscientious objection. In it she proclaims, “clinicians have professional duty to put patients’ needs first and above their own.“
The Irish Times
October 17, 2018
GDC/Colombia Against Limits on Abortion
In a 30-minute interview with Colombia TV Channel Mejor, GDC/Colombia’s Dr. Houghton María Paula Houghton defended the 2006 Supreme Court decision to not limit abortion by gestational age or limit the interpretation of fetal malformation. GDC/Colombia is grateful for the opportunity to have been invited to participate in this interview, have an ally in the media, receive national TV visibility, and have a new spokesperson for GDC/Colombia.
*This interview is in Spanish.
October 10, 2018
GDC/South Africa’s Dr. Tlaleng on her Advocacy
Dr. Tlaleng Mofokeng encourages us to “never forget why you started doing the work that you do.” In this interview, Dr. Mofokeng shares her thoughts on Brett Kavanuagh’s nomination to the U.S. Supreme Court and the influence of the U.S. right wing, conservative, anti-choice movement on international reproductive health, on her activism and how she stays connected to local priorities, and on her TV show “Thrills with Dr. T” designed specifically for black women.
September 27, 2018
GDC/South Africa: A Clinician’s Experience
In her article titled, “The Right to Safe Abortion in South Africa: A Clinician’s Experience” published by Reproductive Health Matters, GDC/South Africa’s Dr. Tlaleng Mofokeng shares the numerous challenges faced by people seeking abortions – from a lack of information available about abortion and where to obtain abortions, lack of signage in clinics and hospitals that indicate where abortion is offered, and lack of money to obtain an abortion, to even stigmatization from healthcare providers. She stresses the importance of political will and stewardship to ensure access to reproductive health services and the human rights to autonomy, dignity, and respect for vulnerability.
Reproductive Health Matters
September 24, 2018
GDC Supports Abortion Providers
In support of the September 28 “Global Day of Action for Access to Safe and Legal Abortion,” 223 civil society organizations from around the world, including GDC, endorsed a joint statement condemning attacks on abortion providers.
The statement was developed by the Sexual Rights Initiative, the Center for Reproductive Rights, Ipas, the Asia-Pacific Resource and Research Centre for Women, the Youth Coalition for Sexual Health and Rights, AWID and the Swedish Association for Sexuality and Education. Global Doctors for Choice co-signed the Statement.
August 20, 2018
GDC/Brazil Campaigns to Legalize Abortion
Dr. Cristião Rosas has been active in the campaign to decriminalize abortion in Brazil. He provided interviews to two TV stations. One focused on how the criminalization of abortion kills women and the other provided an overview of abortion in Brazil.
Dr. Rosas also is collaborating with a group of prominent, respected doctors to draft a letter that supports the legalization of abortion.
Red TVT and CausaOperariaTV
*These interviews are in Portuguese.
August 8, 2018
GDC/Colombia and Guttmacher: Legalize Abortion in Latin American and the Caribbean
In their op-ed,* Dr. María Mercedes Vivas with GDC/Colombia and Fundación Oriéntame in Colombia and Dr. Susheela Singh with the Guttmacher Institute emphasize the impact of restrictive abortion laws on the health and lives of women in Latin America and the Caribbean, and highlight the current data on abortion incidence, legality, and safety in the region.
*This op-ed is in Spanish.
July 26, 2018
GDC’s Doctors for Choice Kenya – for Contraceptives
During a press conference, Drs. John Nyamu and Joseph Karanja, with Doctors for Choice Kenya, encouraged the Vatican and Catholic Church to end their opposition to contraceptives. Dr. Karanja pointed out how contraceptives allow for family planning, prevent sexually transmitted infections, and help reduce poverty. Dr. Nyamu stressed that 214 million women globally have an unmet need for modern contraception, which contributes to maternal mortality. As approximately 25% of HIV-AIDS care worldwide is provided by the Catholic Church, prohibiting condoms leaves scores of people vulnerable.
July 12, 2018
GDC at the ARJC
GDC/South Africa’s Drs. Tlaleng Mofokeng and Eddie Mhlanga attended the Abortion & Reproductive Justice Conference in South Africa. They chaired the opening keynote, hosted conference sessions, and provided the closing plenary. During the conference they also engaging in outreach, recruitment of new providers and members, and strategic planning with key partners (SRJC, inroads, Marie Stopes, CSSR, GHS, and Governmental National Department of Social Development). GDC is proud to be listed as a conference partner.
Abortion & Reproductive Justice: The Unfinished Revolution II
July 9, 2018
Dr. Mhlanga: Respect the Right to Abortion
Dr. Mhlanga GDC/South Africa mentor explains how government health services do not respect the constitutional right to abortion in South Africa, particularly in rural areas. Public health facilities do not train their providers and allow providers and health facility workers to deny care, which resulting in women turning to unsafe clandestine services.
SABC Digital News
July 3, 2018
GDC Urges Poland to Vote against the “Stop Abortion” Bill
GDC sent a letter to urging the Polish President, Speaker of the Sejm, the Prime Minister, the Parliamentary Committee, and the Parliamentary Clubs to vote against the Stop Abortion Bill, which would ban abortions in cases involving fetal impairments.
Currently, Poland allows abortions when a woman’s life or health is threatened, when a pregnancy results from a crime, and when tests indicate a high probability of incurable disease or irreparable disability in a fetus.
The draft bill would eliminate the third condition, which accounts for 95% of abortions provided in Poland.
July 3, 2018
Dr. Mofokeng Speaks Against the U.S. Global Gag Rule
In her op-ed, GDC/South Africa co-lead doctor Dr. Tlaleng Mofokeng likens the U.S. Global Gag Rule to neocolonialism, shares its impact on sexual and reproductive health care access in South Africa, and calls for new strategies to fight the Global Gag Rule.
July 1, 2018
Dr. Mofokeng Calls for Department of Health Leadership
In an article about lack of access to abortion in public health facilities, GDC/South Africa co-lead doctor Dr. Tlaleng Mofokeng expresses frustration that the government is willing to share information (statistics and risks) about unsafe abortions and even allocate funding to billboards and flyers opposing unsafe abortions, yet not provide a information about safe abortion or help ensure access to safe abortions.
“If you go on to the department’s website, there is no information about how or where women can go to have abortions. It is appalling that the department wants to talk about unsafe abortions when it cannot provide alternative facilities, resources and options.”
June 7, 2018
Drs. Mofokeng and Awoonor-Williams Support Dr. Karanja
Recently Dr. Joseph Karanja of Doctors for Choice Kenya advocated for the reinstatement of Kenyan Ministry of Health guidelines. Unfortunately he received backlash from sources that had incorrectly interpreted his efforts.
Many of us with GDC shared our support of his dedication to increase access to safe abortion services and decrease morbidity and mortality due to unsafe abortion, including this letter from Dr. Tlaleng Mofokeng with GDC/South Africa and this letter from Dr. Koku Awoonor-Williams with GDC/Ghana.
June 6, 2018
Dr. Godi’s Op-Ed on Referrals to Address Conscientious Objection
GDC/South African lead doctor Dr. Ntandho Patrick Godi urges providers who are conscientious objectors – who refuse to provide abortion based on one’s moral or religious beliefs – to refer patients seeking abortion to providers willing to offer abortions in order to prevent the extreme consequences of unsafe abortions.
Dr. Godi asserts that the “provision of safe and legal abortion services is a crucial aspect of ensuring women’s reproductive health and is essential to safeguarding their rights and well-being.”
June 6, 2018
Dr. Mofokeng’s Op-Ed on Unsafe Abortion in South Africa
In her op-ed titled It takes more than pro-choice laws to end deaths from unsafe abortions, GDC/South Africa co-lead doctor Dr. Tlaleng Mofokeng shares factors that inhibit access to safe, legal abortion despite South Africa’s liberal abortion laws. These include a lack of information about abortions, that abortion is legal, and where to obtain an abortion, a lack of public sector providers and facilities willing to provide abortions, and a lack of leadership to hold those accountable to providing abortions and to prevent and halt clandestine abortions.
June 1, 2018
Dr. Favier’s Op-Ed on Abortion Provision Implementation in Ireland
GDC Board member Dr. Mary Favier explores factors in implementing the new law and allowing abortion provision within general practice as part of a comprehensive reproductive and sexual health service.
Constraints include the time needed to pass legislation, to ensure licensing of medication, and to establish evidence-based procedures and protocols to ensure that the highest standard of care is delivered. Fortunately, it is anticipated that many general practitioners will welcome this new service and preparatory work in order to facilitate abortion provision already has been done by many of those involved in the field.
The Irish Times
June 1, 2018
Dr. González Vélez Campaigns to Liberalize Abortion in Argentina
GDC Board member and GDC/Colombia lead doctor Dr. Ana Cristina González Vélez participated in the campaign to liberalize abortion in Argentina by testifying during the hearing in the Chamber* and by leading a seminar on evidence to support the legalization of abortion.*
*Both these Youtube videos are in Spanish.
May 23, 2018
GDC’s Dr. Karanja Urges the Reinstatement of Abortion Guidelines
Dr. Joseph Karanja, co-lead doctor of Doctors for Choice Kenya, urged the Kenyan High Court to reinstate guidelines for medical practitioners to provide safe abortions – as allowed by law. Abortion is allowed in Kenya if a women’s life mental or physical health or life is in danger and for emergency reasons and this guideline follows the law. The guidelines will help save lives of women who are at risk from clandestine, botched abortions. In 2013, the Ministry of Health banned the use of one medical abortion medication and banned healthcare workers from participating in any training on safe abortion.
May 21, 2018
GDC Signs Petition to Support Abortion Legalization in Argentina
Several of GDC’s team opted to show their personal support for the legalization of abortion in Argentina by signing an International Solidarity Petition initiated by the International Campaign for Women’s Right to Safe Abortion.
May 19, 2018
Dr. Wendy Chavkin Supports the Repeal of the 8th
While in Ireland, GDC’s co-founder and Board member, Dr. Wendy Chavkin, connected with local pro-choice campaigns to show her support of the “Yes” Campaign to vote to repeal the 8th Amendment and thus legalize abortion in Ireland.
May 8, 2018
GDC/South Africa Contributes to an Abortion Reporting Guide
Dr. Roland Eddie Mhlanga, Dr. Tlaleng Mofokeng, and Marion Stevens contributed to the recently released “Abortion in South Africa: A reporting guide for journalists.” This new manual provides information on South Africa abortion data, the abortion law, and how abortions work. Journalists and the media play an important role in providing accurate information and influencing public opinion, and efforts to provide correct information and non-stigmatizing images and languages are an essential part of pro-choice advocacy.
April 2, 2018
GDC/Brazil Explains the Dismantling of Legal Abortion
Dr. Cristião Rosas explains how the provision of legal abortion services has been undermined in Brazil.
Católicos pelo Direito de Decidir
*This video is in Portuguese.
March 30, 2018
GDC/Ghana’s Abstract Accepted
The GDC/Ghana team’s abstract “Prevalence of Conscientious Objection to Legal Abortion among Clinicians in Northern Ghana” was accepted for inclusion in the Abortion & Reproductive Justice: The Unfinished Revolution III conference to be held in Grahamstown, South Africa in early July 2018.
March 27, 2018
GDC Doctors Petition Thailand
Numerous physicians with Global Doctors for Choice signed two petitions to the Thai government initiated by Choice Network Thailand, Women’s Wellbeing and Gender Justice Program, the Sexualities Studies Association, and the Asia Pacific Alliance for Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights.
The first petition asks the Thai Department of Health to clarify, publicize, and provide accurate information about abortion, which is safe and legal in Thailand to help women understand the legality and more easily and safely access abortions. The second petition demands that the State Council and the Constitutional Court decriminalize abortion by repealing Section 301 of the criminal code.
These petitions aim to protect women’s health and rights and also protect and encourage doctors and nurses who provide abortion services.
March 26, 2018
Dr. Mofokeng Urges Increased Access to Abortion
In an interview GDC/South African co-lead doctor Dr. Tlaleng Mofokeng explained the South African abortion law, reasons for lack of access to safe abortion, and stressed the need for leadership within the national Health Ministry in order to increase access to safe abortion at public health facilities.
March 21, 2018
GDC Challenges Poland
Global Doctors for Choice signed a collaborative statement, initiated by the International Campaign for Women’s Right to Safe Abortion, in response to the proposal to criminalize abortion (except pregnancies diagnosed with a severe or fatal fetal anomaly).
Together we called on the Polish government to listen to women, protect their health and rights, and not approve this bill.
March 19, 2018
GDC’s Dr. Favier Recognized
We are proud to share that our very own Dr. Mary Favier, a GDC board member who leads Irish Doctors for Choice, was honored for her work and expertise.
In February 2018, Dr. Favier received the annual 2018 Bram Stoker award from Trinity College Dublin Philosophical Society (‘The Phil’) on behalf of Irish Doctors for Choice. Founded in 1683, “The Phil” is the world’s oldest debating society with past members including Oscar Wilde and Samuel Beckett. Each year the Bram Stoker medal, named after one of the society’s best known past auditors, is awarded to an individual who has made “an outstanding contribution to shaping the future of Ireland.”
Additionally, Dr. Favier was recently elected vice president elect of the Irish College of General Practitioners (ICGP), effective in May 2018 for one year. Then she will become president in May 2019 for one year and then remain on the ICGP board as immediate past president for one additional year starting May 2020.
We are grateful to know her and for her contributions to GDC’s board.
January 14, 2018
GDC/Ghana’s Lead Doctor Honored
GDC is proud to share that our very own Dr. John Koku Awoonor-Williams was recently recognized for his leadership in the health sector in Ghana.
Dr. Awoonor-Williams serves as GDC/Ghana’s lead doctor and as the Ghana Health Services’ Director for Policy Planning, Monitoring, and Evaluation Division.
It has been an honor to collaborate with him and we are glad he is being appreciated for his contributions.
December 21, 2017
GDC Appeals to Canada
In light of Canada hosting the G7 conference in June 2018, Global Doctors for Choice (GDC) signed a collaborative appeal to the Canadian Prime Minister to ensure sexual and reproductive health and rights remain on the G7 agenda.
Action Canada for Sexual Health and Rights, along with the Canadian Council for International Co-operation, CARE Canada, and the Climate Action Network – Canada crafted this collaborative appeal to request three specific issues be addressed:
supporting refugees, migrants, and displaced peoples,
tackling climate change and its impacts on poor and marginalized communities, and
ensuring the sexual and reproductive health and rights of all people
These issues have often evaded consensus among G7 leaders, and recent trends suggest this will continue to be a challenge. This appeal calls on the Canadian government to not only to defend progress achieved in recent years and decades on these issues, but also to create opportunity to address remaining gaps in the future.
December 10, 2017
FIGO Publishes GDC/Ghana’s CO Study
Global Doctors for Choice/Ghana’s research findings that assessed the prevalence of conscientious objection (CO) to abortion provision in Northern Ghana and the acceptability of policies to regulate CO were published by the highly respected International Journal of Gynecology and Obstetrics.
While the study discovered that the rate of CO was high, it also found that providers recognized the need for and supported policies to regulate CO.
December 7, 2017
GDC Against Brazil Proposal
Dr. Cristiao Rosas, Global Doctors for Choice (GDC)/Brazil’s lead doctor, was interviewed* about the recent proposal that if passed would threaten to fully criminalize abortion in Brazil.
He asserts that the proposed law would “not save the fetus, but it would kill the woman.”
*This publication is in Portuguese.
November 20, 2017
GDC Opposes Brazilian Proposal PEC 181/2015
Global Doctors for Choice wrote wrote to the President of the Brazilian Supreme Court to oppose the recent Proposal PEC 181/2015, which was approved November 8, 2017 by a Special Commission of the Brazilian Chamber of Deputies (in a vote of 18 men against 1 woman). This proposal includes a claim that life begins at conception, and thus if passed would threaten women’s right to legal abortion in Brazil.
If PEC 181/2015 were to be adopted, access to abortion services would become illegal again for women whose pregnancies involve serious health risks, are pregnant as a result of rape or incest, or are carrying a fetus with a serious abnormality.
October 26, 2017
Dr. Ana Cristina González Vélez emphasizes key findings from this survey that ultimately support further liberalization of abortion in Colombia: 1) 1. 66% of people think it is okay for women to decide NOT to have children, 2) 62% believe that the only person who should have influence over the decision to terminate a pregnancy is the woman, and 3) Almost 50% believe that abortion should be a free decision of the woman.
La Silla Vacía
*This article is in Spanish.
October 15, 2017
GDC Urges the Repeal of the Global Gag Rule
Global Doctors for Choice accepted the invitation by the Center for Reproductive Rights, Human Rights Watch, the Center for Health and Gender Equity (CHANGE), and the International Women’s Health Coalition to sign a collaborative letter regarding the six-month review of the Global Gag Rule.
The letter highlights the damage caused by the Global Gag Rule and urges the U.S. President Trump administration to rescind this policy.
September 29, 2017
GDC Supports the International Safe Abortion Day
In support of International Safe Abortion Day September 28th, Global Doctors for Choice signed a collaborative statement on abortion rights initiated by the Center for Reproductive Rights, Ipas, and the Sexual Rights Initiative. This statement was delivered during the 36th session of the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva.
More information, click here.
August 29, 2017
GDC Supports the Complete Decriminalization of Abortion
Global Doctors for Choice (GDC) stood in solidarity with the British Medical Association’s (BMA) vote to completely decriminalize abortion and shared a letter of support with the BMA to help their cause.
August 15, 2017
GDC Opposes the South Africa’s ACDP’s Abortion Bill
Global Doctors for Choice (GDC) urged the South African government to reject the abortion bill proposed by the ACDP (African Christian Democratic Party). Currently South Africa has one of the most liberal abortion laws and the proposed bill would restrict access to safe, legal abortion. Public health and women’s health, particularly poor and black women in rural areas, would suffer.
August 2, 2017
GDC Condones an Abortion for a 10-Year Old Rape Victim in India
Global Doctors for Choice (GDC) requested the Indian Supreme Court overturn the decision to not allow an abortion for the 10-year old girl who is a victim of repeated rapes. Abortions are safe when provided by a trained professional, yet carrying a pregnancy to term and experiencing labor and delivery is unsafe physically and developmentally for such a young child.
August 2, 2017
GDC Supports the New Chilean Abortion Bill
Global Doctors for Choice (GDC) wrote to the Chilean Constitutional Court to support the passage of bill No. 9.895 – 11 that proposed to decriminalize abortion in three circumstances: 1) when the pregnancy is a result of rape or incest, 2) when the pregnancy threatens the woman’s life, or 3) when the pregnancy has a fatal fetal anomaly. August 3, 2017 Chile’s Congress passed this bill and will now go to the Supreme Court to determine the bill’s legality.
July 14, 2017
GDC Urges Justice for Evelyn Beatriz
Global Doctors for Choice (GDC) urged the El Salvadorean president of the legislative assembly and the president of the commission of legislation and constitutional points to overturn the conviction of aggravated homicide and the associated 30-year prison sentence for Evelyn Beatriz.
As her lawyers stated, this young woman was a victim of repeated rapes, which she did not report out of fear and lack of support. She was unaware that she had become pregnant as a result of rape, until she experienced a miscarriage. Finally, the lawyers stated the two expert witnesses, one responsible for the autopsy and one responsible for the pathology, reported that the presence of meconium in the bronchia could have been a cause of death.
July 13, 2017
GDC Urges Protection of Abortion in Poland
When Global Doctors for Choice (GDC) heard about a movement to criminalize abortion for fetal abnormalities, GDC proactively urged the Polish President, Speaker of the Sejm (Polish Parliament), and Prime Minister to protect current legality of abortions for fetal abnormalities and to reject any future proposals to change this.
Receiving a diagnosis of a fetal abnormality can be a catastrophic and traumatic experience for a woman. Forcing a woman to continue a pregnancy with a fetal abnormality increases both the physical and psychological pain and suffering, and the trauma of the experience and imposes health risks on the woman. Any attempt to force women to continue a pregnancy and continue to experience pain and trauma would constitute a violation of these women’s human rights.
June 15, 2017
GDC’s Co-Founder’s Conscientious Objection Article Published
Dr. Wendy Chavkin co-authored the article, Regulation of Conscientious Objection to Abortion: An International Comparative Multiple-Case Study, which analyzed the acceptability and efficacy of laws and policies that ensure access to safe, legal abortion service while allowing healthcare providers to evoke conscientious objection to refuse abortion-related care.
Health and Human Rights Journal
June 15, 2017
GDC/Colombia’s Advocacy Article Published
Global Doctors for Choice/Colombia (GDC/Colombia) lead doctor Dr. Ana Cristina González Vélez and GDC/Colombia member Dr. Isabel Cristina Jaramillo co-authored an article “Legal Knowledge as a Tool for Social Change” which focuses on how to engage with a variety of social actors to ensure the true implementation of laws.
Health and Human Rights Journal
June 6, 2017
GDC Urges Poland to Keep Over-the-Counter Emergency Contraceptives
Global Doctors for Choice (GDC) urged the Polish President, Speaker of the Sejm (Polish Parliament), and Prime Minister to not sign a bill that would end the availability of over-the-counter emergency contraception.
The European Medicines Agency (EMA) recommends that the drug ellaOne, which can be used safely and effectively without a doctor’s consultation to prevent pregnancy, should be available without prescription in all European countries.
Emergency contraception allows women to prevent unintended pregnancies, particularly when other methods of birth control have failed, after a sexual assault, or due to other unforeseen circumstances.
June 6, 2017
GDC Urges the New Irish Prime Minister to Decriminalize Abortion
Global Doctors for Choice (GDC) sent a welcome letter to Leo Varadkar, the new Irish Taoiseach (or Prime Minister), encouraging him to listen to the Citizen Assembly and take action to decriminalize abortion.
With 87% of the Citizen Assembly believing the 8th Amendment must change, their vote to legalize abortion for any reason up to either 12 or 22 weeks of pregnancy, and their vote to legalize abortion when the pregnant person’s physical and mental health was at risk, if the pregnancy had a fetal impairment, and for socio-economic reasons, it is imperative for this new leader to listen to his constituents and protect women’s lives.
May 31, 2017
GDC Welcomes New WHO Director-General
Global Doctors for Choice (GDC), alongside 121 civil society organizations, welcomed Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus as the new World Health Organization Director-General and encouraged him to advance women and girls’ health, particularly sexual and reproductive health and rights.
It was a privilege and honor to send this letter in collaboration with the International Federation of Medical Students’ Associations, the International Planned Parenthood Federation, and the Women’s Global Network for Reproductive Rights and with the support of 118 additional endorsing agencies.
May 15, 2017
GDC Urges Abortion Decriminalization in El Salvador
Global Doctors for Choice (GDC) joined the recent movement among reproductive health and human rights agencies and petitioned the El Salvadorian government to decriminalize abortion for four instances: when the pregnancy threatens the life of the woman, threatens the woman’s mental or physical health, has a malformation incompatible with life, and/or is the product of sexual violence, rape, or incest.
April 19, 2017
GDC/Ghana’s Study Results in the News
GDC/Ghana recently surveyed health providers to determine the prevalence of conscientious objection in the three regions of Northern Ghana: the Northern, Upper East, and Upper West regions. The results revealed that conscientious objection – refusing to provide services due to moral or religious beliefs – impeded access to critical reproductive health and maternal health care services.
While it is disturbing that 50% of the providers surveyed (doctors, physician assistants, and midwives) who were trained and qualified to provide legal abortion care services objected to providing such services, it is heartening that the majority of these providers supported a national policy guideline to regulate conscientious objection.
April 17, 2017
GDC Supports SRHR in the G20
GDC signed the collaborative petition initiated by International Planned Parenthood Federation to include sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR) in the G20 Summit in July 2017. For the first time, the G20 is considering Universal Health Coverage as a priority issue. The petition urges the G20 to include sexual and reproductive health as an essential component of this agenda. Including SRHR in the G20 could lead to greater political priority, and financial commitment among G20 countries.
February 16, 2017
GDC Urges Norway to Increase Funding
GDC signed a collaborative letter requesting the Norwegian government to increase sexual and reproductive health and rights funding to counter U.S. President Trump and the Global Gag Rule reinstatement.
January 25, 2017
GDC Urges Allies to Increase Funding
GDC joined over 75 agencies in signing a collaborative letter condemning US President Trump’s reenactment of the Global Gag Rule, which urges the Canadian Government and other sexual and reproductive health and rights allies to increase funding in this area and join in diplomatic efforts.
January 24, 2017
GDC Supports Chilean Abortion Bill
GDC signed a collaborative petition to the Chilean Senate to approve the abortion bill that had passed earlier in January 2017 in the Chilean Senate Constitutional Commission.*
*This publication is in Spanish.
January 20, 2017
GDC Condemns Global Gag Rule
GDC remains concerned that US President Trump will reinstate the global gag rule, a harmful policy that will have devastating consequences on global women’s health.
As a supporter of global health and development, women’s rights, gender equality, and free speech, GDC joins over 130 international organizations from a variety of sectors to oppose this policy and reject efforts to undermine the health and rights of women around the world.
December 20, 2016
Dr. Peter Baffoe – UNICEF Health Specialist
GDC/Ghana’s co-lead doctor Dr. Peter Baffoe now serves as a UNICEF Health Specialist at the Ghana Country office in Accra.
Prior, he was the senior specialist Obstetrician/Gynecologist and the Medical Director of the Upper East Regional Hospital in Ghana. During that time, he served as the only OB/GYN for nearly eight years in the Upper East Region, one of the two most deprived and impoverished regions of Ghana.
We are so proud and honored to work with him.
December 16, 2016
GDC Signs Declaration from the Africa Regional Conference on Abortion
Global Doctors for Choice was honored to sign onto the Declaration that stemmed from the Africa Regional Conference on Abortion. Signing the declaration is a demonstration of our commitment to advocating for comprehensive reproductive health, including safe abortion, for all people and to collaborating with our fellow reproductive health agencies to achieve this goal.
December 1, 2016
GDC/Ghana Invited to Present
Ipas, an esteemed fellow international reproductive health organization, invited GDC/Ghana’s lead doctor Dr. John Koku Awoonor-Williams to present during the African Abortion Research to Policy Conference in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.
Dr. Awoonor-Williams presented as part of a panel discussion regarding second trimester abortion and also shared results from the GDC/Ghana study on conscientious objection prevalence and policy intervention.
November 3, 2016
GDC/Colombia: Stigma & Abortion Providers
We are proud to share GDC/Colombia’s first publication* in the blog by the Colombian journal La Silla Vacía.
In this publication, Dr. Maria M. Vivas asserts that, despite the stigma that abortion providers face, doctors who choose to provide abortions actually are conscientiously choosing to guarantee the women’s rights. Doctors who chose to provide abortions do so in order to protect the principles of medicine, to respect women’s autonomy, to protect women’s well-being and avoid harm, and to guarantee not only access to safe medical care but also to people’s rights can be exercised.
*This publication is in Spanish.
La Silla Vacía
November 2, 2016
GDC CO Article Accepted for Publication
PLOS ONE accepted for publication a GDC article that provides a quantitative instrument to measure the prevalence of conscientious objection (CO) to abortion provision.
To better understand the practice of CO and thus to create better interventions, this article and tool were collaboratively developed by Drs. Koku Awoonor-Williams and Peter Baffoe, our GDC/Ghana lead and co-lead doctors respectively, and by Drs. Ana Cristina González-Veléz and Laura Gil, our GDC/Colombia lead and previous co-lead doctors respectively.
October 20, 2016
GDC, El Salvador, and National Geographic
GDC’s international network helped connect National Geographic to doctors in El Salvador and contributed to international advocacy by helping to expose the realities in a country with some of the most restrictive reproductive health laws in the world.
We thank Nina Strochlic, writer at National Geographic, for her work and dedication to women across the world.
October 5, 2016
GDC/Colombia Urges Complete Decriminalization of Abortion
GDC/Colombia was featured in an article* that discussed the impact of stigma on the law and that urged the complete decriminalization of abortion, as it is a health service.
*This article is in Spanish.
September 20, 2016
GDC Signs Statement to Poland
Global Doctors for Choice signed onto a collaborative advocacy statement that urges the Polish government to dismiss the “Stop Abortion” draft bill and to take immediate action to ensure women’s reproductive rights by securing access to safe, legal abortion services throughout the country for all women without stigmatization, intimidation, victimization, or discrimination, to track the number and conditions of illegal abortions, and to ensure access to sexual education and modern contraception to prevent unwanted pregnancies.
September 16, 2016
Dr. Wendy Chavkin: Why Context Matters
Dr. Chavkin, Global Doctors for Choice Board Manager and founding member, co-authored a paper that argues conscientious objection policies and debates around the world often do not take into account the social, political, and economic pressures that profoundly influence clinicians who must decide whether to claim objector status.
September 15, 2016
GDC Supports Brazilian Petition
Global Doctors for Choice (GDC) supports the recent petition to the Brazilian Supreme Court, which proposes to expand government health services and social supports for women, children, and families affected by the growing Zika health emergency.
GDC supports all initiatives to ensure that women throughout Brazil have the information, access to healthcare services, access to family planning methods, and access to safe and legal abortion, they require to respond to the Zika virus epidemic.
September 12, 2016
GDC/Colombia Clarifies “Conscientious Objection”
GDC/Colombia shares its position on this recent publication, “The Fetus Is My Patient, Too: Attitudes Toward Abortion and Referral Among Physician Conscientious Objectors in Bogotá, Colombia” by Fink, L., Stanhope, K., Rochat, R., & Bernal, O. (2016).
While we agree that this line of research and findings are an important and valuable contribution in the search for strategies to address the multiple barriers to access legal abortion that Colombia women experience, it is essential to make conceptual clarifications and open this debate on the inadequate manner in which the term “conscientious objector” is attributed to professionals who are not from complying with the rules established by the Colombia Supreme Court, who are obstructing access to legal abortion, and thus who are systematically violating women’s rights.
Update: This GDC/Colombia response was published by the International Campaign for Women’s Right to Safe Abortion.
August 30, 2016
Global Doctors for Choice strongly supports the International Campaign for Women’s Right to Safe Abortion proposal to make September 28 International Safe Abortion Day, an official international UN Day in 2016.
August 24, 2016
Conscience and Autonomy: Reproductive Health and Abortion
Global Doctors for Choice’s Executive Director Dick van der Tak contributed this article to Conscience, the magazine of Catholics for Choice, investigates what role conscience and autonomy have played in our beliefs about reproductive health and abortion.
Click here to view the latest issue of Conscience.
July 8, 2016
Global Doctors for Choice Urges Freedom for Maria Teresa Rivera in El Salvador
Global Doctors for Choice requested that the Honorable Judges of El Salvador affirm Judge Rogel Zepeda’s decision to overturned Maria Teresa Rivera’s conviction and released her from prison. After having a miscarriage, Maria Teresa Rivera was sentenced to 40 years in prison for abortion-related charges. She served five years of this 40 year prison sentence.
June 21, 2016
GDC/Colombia’s Infographic on Zika and Abortion
We are proud to share GDC Colombia’s infographic which provides factual information in response to many of the myths related to Zika and abortion.
June 1, 2016
Global Doctors for Choice Urges Spain to Reconsider
Global Doctors for Choice petitioned the Spanish Ministry of the Interior to reconsider their recent decision that revoked the Spanish Federation of Family Planning’s (FPFE)’s status as a public utility. As a public utility FPFE provided family planning and sexual and reproductive healthcare information, advice, and training to underserved populations such as youth, youth with intellectual disabilities, and immigrants. The recent decision to revoke FPFE’s status as public utility has serious repercussions for the people they serve and who rely on their services.
May 20, 2016
GDC/Colombia: CO in the Context of Bioethics and Human Rights
At the National OB/GYN Meeting in Cali, Colombia, GDC/Colombia lead doctor Dr. Ana Cristina González Veléz participated in a table on conscientious objection (CO). Her presentation focused on CO in the context of bioethics and human rights, including describing the phenomenon of CO, expressing how CO is a central element of bioethics, defining what is and what is not CO, addressing the tension between the rights of providers and of patients, and articulating how CO falls within a human rights framework.
May 10, 2016
GDC: Against Poland’s Proposed Abortion Pill
Global Doctors for Choice urged Poland’s President, Prime Minister, and Speaker of the House to vote against a bill that proposed to amend the Act of Family Planning, Protection of the Human Foetus and Conditions of Pregnancy Termination and related Acts. The Committee “Stop Abortion” proposed this bill that ultimately would criminalize abortion in all circumstances, including for women with severe illnesses, who are pregnant as a result of rape or incest, or who have pregnancies with severe genetic or other anomalies. If this bill were to pass, women would be forced to continue such pregnancies to full term and experience labor and delivery. This would result in serious physical and psychological pain and suffering for Polish women and constitute a violation of these women’s human rights.
May 2, 2016
Dr. Wendy Chavkin: Attacking science hurts women’s health
GDC Co-Founder and Board Member Wendy Chavkin, MD, was featured in the Houston Chronicle, the Corpus Christi Caller Times, the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, and the El Paso Times for her op-ed regarding the consequences of ignoring science on women’s health.
Houston Chronicle, Corpus Christi Caller Times, Fort Worth Star-Telegram, El Paso Times
April 19, 2016
Reproductive Health and the Zika Epidemic in Brazil
Our valued, trusted colleague Debora Diniz just released a documentary about reproductive rights and the Zika epidemic in Brazil.
March 2, 2016
To Fight Zika, GDC Co-Founder Dr. Chavkin Prescribes Comprehensive Measures
Dr. Wendy Chavkin recommends several ways to combat the Zika virus, including “improving sanitation, controlling mosquitoes, mitigating the effects of climate change, and guaranteeing the right to full and adequate reproductive healthcare for all women.”
Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health
March 2, 2016
WHO Recognizes GDC / Ghana’s Dr. John Koku Awoonor-Williams
We are honored to share that GDC has being recognized by the World Health Organization (WHO). GDC / Ghana’s lead doctor Dr. John Koku Awoonor-Williams just received an invitation from the WHO to participate in the Primary Health Care Improvement Global Stakeholder Meeting in Geneva, Switzerland.
March 1, 2016
GDC Supports Two Campaigns in Africa
In early 2016, Global Doctors for Choice (GDC) proudly supported two campaigns in Africa to increase access to safe abortion. GDC signed onto the Ipas-led campaign to decriminalize abortion in Africa. Also, GDC signed onto the letter written by the International Campaign for Women’s Rights to Safe Abortion and sent to the Sierra Leone President and Parliament in support of the Safe Abortion Act proposed in 2015.
February 17, 2016
GDC/Colombia Releases Two Statements on Zika
Global Doctors for Choice / Colombia has released two statements in Spanish regarding the Zika virus, pregnancy, and abortion:
February 16, 2016
GDC’s Statement on the Zika Health Emergency
In the face of the Zika health emergency in Latin America and the Caribbean, GDC released a statement in support all initiatives to ensure that women in Latin America and the Caribbean have the information, sex education, support, and services, including full access to contraception and abortion, they require to respond to the Zika outbreak. We join advocacy efforts to repeal conservative laws and policies that restrict access to reproductive health services, including safe abortion.
December 16, 2015
GDC to Dominican Republic: Reinstate 2015 law that legalized abortion
Global Doctors for Choice petitioned the Dominican Republic President Danilo Medina to reconsider the recent decision that revoked the Dominican Republic Constitutional Tribune’s 2015 landmark law that legalized abortion in the cases of rape or incest, of pregnancies incompatible with life, and/or when a women’s health or life was at risk. President Medina had advocated for this change and signed it into law. The December 2015 decision to reverse this landmark law ultimately denies abortion in all circumstances.
December 7, 2015
GDC Welcomes Beth Felker as new Program Manager
With great pleasure, Global Doctors for Choice, welcomes Beth Felker into the role of Program Manager. To read more about her prior experience click here.
March 30, 2015
Jeweler launches ‘Adinkra’ collection to benefit GDC/Ghana
Kuka-me, a London-based jeweler that launched a line of pendants, bracelets, and earrings inspired by Ghanaian Adinkra symbols late last year, has announced that it will donate 10% of all profits to GDC/Ghana.
According to Kuka-me, “Adinkra symbols represent objects that convey traditional wisdom, aspects of life or the environment. They are used extensively in pottery, textiles, and art” in Ghana.
GDC/Ghana is grateful for Kuka-me’s generosity and wishes the collection success.
January 12, 2015
GDC/Ghana has initiated the first quantitative study about conscientious objection to care for abortion services in Ghana, and the first Ghanaian study with conscientious objection as its main focus.
October 14, 2014
GDC announces appointment of Dick Van der Tak as Executive Director
Global Doctors for Choice announces Mr. Dick Van der Tak as its first Executive Director. To read more about his prior experience click here.
October 10, 2014
13% of Maternal Mortality is due to Clandestine Abortions
GDC/Colombian Drs. Laura Gil and Ana Cristina González Vélez provided their expertise to three radio stations, emphasizing that a lack of information about the legality of abortion – among both women seeking abortions and among medical providers – contributes to women seeking abortions that are not provided in ideal, regulated, and safe conditions and thus contributes to high rates of complications for an otherwise safe medical procedure.
*These articles are in Spanish.
September 30, 2014
GDC/Colombia publicly declares that they are pro-choice doctors who support women’s decision about their bodies and lives and respect women’s autonomy.
*This article is in Spanish.
September 26, 2014
Dr. Ana Cristina González Vélez explains the continued barriers to access abortion, despite the decriminalization of abortion in Colombia.
*This article is in Spanish.
September 10, 2014
Dr. Koku Awoonor discusses the contribution of unwanted pregnancy to maternal mortality in Ghana.
May 28, 2014
Competing Rights: Exploring the Boundaries of Conscientious Objection, by Wendy Chavkin, MD, MPH
Global Doctors for Choice co-founder and Global Steering Committee member Dr. Wendy Chavkin published a piece in response to a commentary by Joyce Arthur and Christian Fiala on the GDC white paper “Conscientious objection and refusal to provide reproductive healthcare: A White Paper examining prevalence, health consequences, and policy responses.”
RH Reality Check
March 13, 2014
Drs. Ana C. Gonzalez and J. Koku Awoonor-Williams, lead doctors of Global Doctors for Choice Colombia and Ghana respectively, published a letter in the New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM) in response to a NEJM review article, “Global Maternal, Newborn, and Child Health — So Near and Yet So Far,” which was published in the journal last December.
New England Journal of Medicine
March 4, 2014
Women Deliver, a global advocacy organization focused on improving the health and well-being of girls and women, posted a news item on their website highlighting the importance of Global Doctors for Choice’s recently published white paper on conscientious objection. In addition to providing a link to the full paper, the organization described the paper as a useful tool for policy makers and advocates.
January 16, 2014
GDC has authored Conscientious objection and refusal to provide reproductive healthcare: A white paper examining prevalence, health consequences, and policy responses and has published it in a special supplement to the International Journal of Gynecology and Obstetrics.
International Journal of Gynecology and Obstetrics
December 3, 2013
Aborto, l’obiezione di coscienza in Italia tra le più alte al mondo. In alcune regioni arriva al 100%
Global Doctors for Choice and the white paper are referenced in an article about conscientious objection in the Huffington Post Italy.
Huffington Post Italy
June 29, 2013
Lead doctor Koku Awoonor Williams discusses efforts made in his region towards increasing access to comprehensive reproductive health services.