It is with equal amounts of bittersweet nostalgia and bracing anticipation that I announce I am stepping down from the ALRANZ presidency.
It has been an honour and a privilege to lead this organisation through the years in which our long-held purpose came to fruition. Abortion is now legal, it is health care, and it is the unquestioned right of every pregnant person up to 20 weeks gestation. When I reflect on abortion law reform, I am deeply proud of our country, and of our work.
I chose to step down now, because it feels like the right time. ALRANZ’s mission is changing. Our role now is to hold the health system, and by extension the government, to account for its implementation of the laws and regulations relating to reproductive health care and rights, and the systems and processes it develops to effect that implementation.
Of course, to hold the health system accountable we need the help of folks who have had trouble getting reproductive health care. We need to know what is happening. So ALRANZ has added a page to our website to make it easy to tell your story – anonymously it you prefer. We really want to hear from you – about any problems you experience with reproductive health care. If you experience harassment, disrespect, health practitioners who try to obstruct access, ‘unbiased’ counselling that turns out to be anti-abortion coercion, or just run-of-the-mill stuff-ups, we want to hear about it. This is how we can make sure problems get fixed.
Our shift in focus makes this the best time for me to step away into other things, and to let new faces and minds and hands take up the work. To this end, I am delighted to announce Dr Tracy Morison has agreed to serve as interim president of ALRANZ, from now till the AGM. Tracy is a distinguished academic whose focus is reproductive health care. She has been doing a bang-up job for years in this space, and ALRANZ is lucky to have her.
When I look back over the past 6 years, the best part of the whole experience has been the supporters and allies who have given so much to this struggle and ensured its success. To list everyone would take pages and pages. Many of them are now good friends. From the bottom of my heart, thank you.
I will still be around on ALRANZ’s executive committee to provide institutional knowledge and other annoyances. Many thanks to successive executive committees, to Dame Margaret Sparrow, and to all the membership of ALRANZ for the opportunity to be of service.
All the best,