Press

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.

Ghana Web

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.

Emol Nacional

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.

PLOS ONE

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.

National Geographic

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.

El Espectador

*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

September 28 International Safe Abortion Day

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.

Conscience Magazine

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:

Myths regarding Abortion and the Zika Virus Epidemic

Statement regarding the Zika Virus and Pregnancy

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’s action center in 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.

        Kuka-me website

January 12, 2015

Global Doctors for Choice Meet Over Abortion Services 

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.

spyghana.com

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.

9/10/2014

       Unwanted Pregnancies: Major Cause of Maternal Mortality

Dr. Koku Awoonor discusses the contribution of unwanted pregnancy to maternal mortality in Ghana.

Spyghana.com

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

      Correspondence: Global Maternal, Newborn, and Child Health

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

       The Question of Conscientious Objection for Medical Practitioners

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.

www.WomenDeliver.org

January 16, 2014

       GDC Publishes White Paper on Conscientious Objection to Reproductive Healthcare

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 

       Owing Our Lives to the Important Role of Midwives

Lead doctor Koku Awoonor Williams discusses efforts made in his region towards increasing access to comprehensive reproductive health services.

spyghana.com