Updated: May 22
Expanding our digital tool for abortion, miscarriage & contraception by Latinas for Latinas.
Women and girls* in the United States are dealing with an attack on their reproductive rights for essential health services, choice, and freedom.
Roe v Wade protected the federal Constitutional right to abortion in the United States. But with its reversal, states can decide to restrict or completely ban access to abortions. 16 states have banned or restricted abortions, while another 8 have their abortion rights hanging by a thread. We are now clearly looking at abortion deserts and abortion havens - forcing millions to travel to receive care, an option that also excludes access for logistical and financial reasons. Access to abortion resources is scarce and those that have access still face gaps in their care process, feeling anxiety from lacking the necessary knowledge on medication abortions to feeling an emotional burden from the stigma before, during, or after their abortion. Women that identify as BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, People of Color) face barriers disproportionately and differently and that is why Vitala Global is focused on expanding our digital tool for Latina/xs in the United States.
*We are committed to gender inclusivity.
Latinas in the United States face a significant threat to safe abortion access. 91% of Latinas in the United States reside in ten states, of which 40% of those have banned or severely restricted abortion¹. This is alarming as unintended pregnancy rates in the US are highest among low-income women of color, aged 18-24². From our conversations with US-based colleagues, we’ve learned the challenges Latinas face day in, and day out accessing quality, culturally aligned, and affordable sexual and reproductive health services are largely unaddressed. This is a time where particularly BIPOC communities need solutions designed for their needs and experiences with access at a large scale. Thanks to the design of our interface and emerging partnerships with local US organizations, our solution is ready to support all Latina/xs in the United States.
¹Abortion US Country Profile, Guttmacher Institute
²Contraception and Reproductive Medicine Journal, BMC (2020)
Hi! We are Dr. Roopan Gill and Dr. Genevieve Tam, founders of Vitala Global and OBGYNs with field experiences in humanitarian and restrictive settings and a deep passion for addressing health inequities impacting women and adolescent girls. Vitala Global’s mission is to revolutionize sexual and reproductive (SRH) self-care through co-designed, holistic, and localized digital solutions that meet women and girls where they are, empowering them to be agents of change. We focus on women and girls who need the most access to abortion and live in places that restrict their ability to do so.
We are proud to say we have been recognized as global experts!
Dr. Gill was featured in Forbes as 1 of 7 female leaders changing the narrative of the healthcare industry, Aya Contigo was recognized by the World Health Organization as 1 of 5 innovative and locally relevant abortion programs, we were finalists with MIT Solve Global Challenges and most recently Dr. Gill was named one of Canada's 100 Most Powerful Women in 2022 under the Women of Courage award.
Introducing Aya Contigo
Together with a female-led multidisciplinary team of women’s health experts, medical professionals, SRH activists, and public health and technology specialists we launched Aya Contigo for women and girls in Venezuela on March 2022. Our Spanish app and Care Team accompany users throughout their abortion journey in three ways - providing evidence-based steps to have a safe abortion with pills, offering personalized culturally-relevant psycho-emotional support via our live chat, assisting with contraception decision-making, and connecting users to our trusted network to access resources and navigate the healthcare system.
In a highly restrictive and challenging humanitarian setting like Venezuela, where unintended pregnancies and unmet contraception needs are at an all-time high - unsafe abortions and consequently, maternal mortality and morbidity rates are also at unprecedented levels, the highest in the region. Since our launch in March 2022, Aya Contigo has served 2500+ users in Venezuela and has built trust within the feminist community in Latin America, showing we have a solution that can impact the lives of people who need the most access.
How you can support us
Product: To enrich Aya Contigo’s personalized user experience with a holistic psycho-emotional support tool, a virtual community space, and an English version with more holistic offerings, and ensure our platform is a secure tool that protects the identities of all our users.
Launch: To complete user testing and implement our outreach strategy for the launch
Team: To invest in and sustain our amazing team
Indiegogo: To pay their third-party payment processing fee and withdraw our money from Indiegogo.
By supporting this campaign, you’ll help us get closer to offering Aya Contigo for Latina/xs in the United States!
Women need more than just procedures and pills. They need access to timely, comprehensive, and culturally relevant care, but in that process they face barriers navigating the complex ecosystem within the US. Aya Contigo addresses those pain points by providing personalized psycho-emotional support, end-to-end guidance throughout the journey, and access to a trusted network of partners.
We have a solution that can serve 13.5 million Latin American & Spanish-speaking women of reproductive age. Thanks to the design of our interface and emerging partnerships with local US organizations, our solution is ready to be tested with Latina/xs in the United States. We plan to launch user testing in early 2023!
Risks and Challenges
Our experience in challenging humanitarian and restrictive settings has taught us there is always a way to support those who need it most - thinking of design through the lens of the user, forming a network of trusted, local partnerships, and seeking advice from those who know more than we do. Our passion for health equity has taken us far to see that anything is possible when you care deeply enough about your work to develop the courage to defy any odds that may be stacked against you.
How are we going to navigate the complex legal landscape in the US? We recognize that scaling to a new country can amplify the challenges. This is why we secured key partnerships with a multinational law firm in NYC providing pro bono legal support, a leading consulting firm providing research support on the viability of business models, and we have built momentum with leading local SRH organizations that have experience serving Latina/xs.
What if we don't reach our goal? With the funds we raise, our Latin American team will continue to support safe self-managed abortions in restrictive settings like Venezuela and the region. We will continue raising funds to adapt our app and find sustainable ways to bring Aya Contigo to fill the gap in abortion support for people in the US. We know fundraising is an uphill battle, but we're tackling this challenge by diversifying our fundraising efforts. Our grant writer works tirelessly applying for grants, while we make connections and build relationships with philanthropists and impact investors in Canada and the United States. The interest we've received from funders on the expansion of Vitala Global has kept our spirits high!