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’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.
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.
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
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.