As an obstetrician/gynecologist, Douglas W. Laube, MD, MEd, cares for women through every stage of their reproductive years. He has counseled young women about contraception, delivered babies, provided abortions, and overseen a weekly menopause clinic. His commitment to provide a full range of reproductive health services was tested in the 1990s, when anti-abortion protestors targeted the university where he worked.
Dr. Laube often recalls the day when protestors outside the abortion clinic picked up a telephone pole and used it as a battering ram to break down the clinic doors. The noise of the protestors frightened his patient, but after her abortion was finished, the woman stood up and wrapped her arms around him. “You can’t leave us now,” she said.
Dr. Laube can frequently be found on Capitol Hill and in his home state capital of Madison, Wisconsin, advocating for state and federal policies that address women’s needs for comprehensive reproductive health care. He has visited dozens of legislators and policymakers to fight for women’s access to contraception, abortion, and other reproductive health services.
Dr. Laube also speaks to the media, providing scientific and medical facts related to debates about abortion and contraception. He recently completed a Jefferson Science Fellowship in Washington, DC, working in the Population and Reproductive Health office in the Global Health Bureau of USAID. He continues to contribute his scientific expertise to the federal government.
Recognizing that women can’t access health care without trained providers, Dr. Laube has focused on teaching physicians, medical students, and other health care professionals. In 2006 and 2007, Dr. Laube served as president of the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG), and he made medical education a priority for the organization. He has been a professor of obstetrics and gynecology for more than three decades, first at the University of Iowa, then at the University of Wisconsin, where he served as department chair from 1993 to 2006.
Dr. Laube was first exposed to medical education as a young child. His father, a physician, spent five years traveling throughout China to set up general surgery programs at Chinese medical schools. In 1949, the civil war forced the Laube family to return to the United States. Two decades later, Dr. Laube earned his medical degree from the University of Iowa, completed his residency there in obstetrics and gynecology, and received his master’s from the university in health sciences education.
Dr. Laube joined the Physicians for Reproductive Health board of directors in November 2007. He served as chair of the board until June 2013.