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UN WOMEN  |  CSW68 (2024)

Addressing Safe Abortion Care and Reproductive Autonomy as a Path to Economic Empowerment

Tuesday March 19, 2:30 - 4:00pm 

International Rescue Committee  |  122 E 42nd St, New York,  12th floor

Join Vitala Global and the Fòs Feminista Alliance, with our host International Rescue Committee and guest panelists from the Turnaway Study, US and South African Reproductive Justice movements, as we discuss abortion access and reproductive autonomy as a path to economic empowerment for this year's CSW68 in NYC! 


Vitala Global is a Canadian technology not-for-profit co-founded by two ObGyns. Vitala is dedicated to driving social impact and promoting access and equity for marginalized communities, to achieve their sexual and reproductive health goals.


Aya Contigo is Vitala's flagship app and chat platform that accompanies people through their abortion and contraception journeys. It was co-designed and launched in Venezuela in 2022 to address the high rates of unsafe abortions due to the protracted humanitarian crisis and restrictive abortion laws.  Aya Contigo was launched in the US in September 2023 to support the disproportionately affected Latina/x community. Vitala’s goal is to scale Aya Contigo to more countries across Latin America to ultimately support people’s reproductive choices and empower them to be agents of change. 

Fòs Feminista is an International Alliance for Sexual and Reproductive Health, Rights, and Justice launched in October 2021 as a new model for feminist action and solidarity in a moment marked by the rising tide of vibrant feminist movements. The Alliance was formed to meet the sexual and reproductive needs of marginalized women, girls, and gender-diverse people by advocating for systemic change, holding governments accountable, and providing sexual and reproductive health (SRH) care and services even amidst the most challenging circumstances.  Fòs Feminista collaborates with more than 220 organizations, with more than 70 partners in the Alliance, in every region of the Global South.

The International Rescue Committee responds to the world's worst humanitarian crises, including the conflict in Ukraine and the crisis in Afghanistan. We help to restore health, safety, education, economic wellbeing and power to people devastated by conflict and disaster.


Women and girls—particularly in places affected by crisis—face discrimination, violence, and a lack of equal opportunities that threaten their lives and rob them of their potential. But with the right support and investment, they can change their own future and uplift entire communities. They can change the world. And we are proud to fight for a world where women and girls have an equal chance to succeed.



Dr. Roopan Gill

Co-founder & CEO

Vitala Global

Dr. Gill is a Canadian Ob/Gyn, abortion provider, and a trailblazer in leveraging digital innovation to enhance abortion access in restrictive and humanitarian settings. Her presentation will focus on Vitala's digital abortion and contraception companion, Aya Contigo. Aya demonstrates the impact of user-centered digital solutions in navigating the challenges in restrictive settings such as Venezuela and the US. 

Dr. Antonia Biggs

 Assistant Professor 

University of California San Francisco (UCSF)

Dr. Biggs brings invaluable insights from The Turnaway Study, a ten-year prospective longitudinal research project examining the consequences of unwanted pregnancy on women's lives. Dr. Biggs will discuss how study findings reveal the adverse financial, health, and family outcomes faced by women denied abortions, emphasizing the necessity of accessible reproductive healthcare services to ensure better life prospects.

Erin Grant

Co-Executive Director of the Abortion Care Network

Erin is a beacon of inspiration and a pivotal figure in the fight for reproductive freedom. With a wealth of experience as an abortion provider, community doula, and organizational development enthusiast, Erin brings an intersectional perspective to supporting independent abortion clinics and deepening community-based support.


Dr. Jess Rucell

Executive Secretary, Board of Directors, Sexual and Reproductive Justice Coalition in South Africa

Dr. Rucell's is an Expert Advisor of Gender Justice at The Centre for Applied Legal Studies. She has lead advocacy and research for over fifteen-years in the United
States, Asia and Africa, in areas of conflict, reproductive health, and gender-based
violence. Her presentation examines abortion in South Africa's political and economic. context.  


Erin Wheeler

Senior Technical Advisor for SRHR

International Rescue Committee 

Erin Wheeler provides overall leadership and technical direction for SRHR as part of IRC’s health portfolio. Prior to this role, Erin led a multi-country program that focused on increasing access to SRH services in humanitarian and fragile settings. Erin is an active steering committee member of the Interagency Working Group for Reproductive Health in Crises (IAWG) as well as co-lead of the SRH task team within the Global Health Cluster.

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