To New Zealand abortion providers,

The Abortion Law Reform Association of New Zealand (ALRANZ) would like to thank you for all the amazing work you do, often unseen and unacknowledged. While we do not write these types of letters nearly as often as we should, those of us who pursue a pro-choice agenda admire and respect the enormous role you play in ensuring and enabling access to abortion services. We know that providing these services is all to frequently done at a cost to your own safety and wellbeing. We honor your bravery; bearing the brunt of anti-choice bullying, threats and spurious attempts to make clinic/medical providers into villains.

ALRANZ and pro-choice supports know better. We know that in an ideal world, one we strive to attain, that what you do should be understood as a basic health service. That providing abortions should be one part of a wider sexual and reproductive health strategy that enables access free of charge and without barriers to those who need it; without judgment, without recrimination, and without fearing for one’s safety. There would be no stigma and no shame because abortion would be conceptualized as a basic human right and an integrated health services.

We also know that inside the four walls of clinics and hospitals around the country that women get some of the best abortion care in the world. You play a fundamental role in ensuring these services continue, but also that pregnant people are cared for, listened to and provided with the best option based on individual need. The time spent holding someone’s hand as they explain why this abortion is their only option. The heart wrenching stories of wanted pregnancies diagnosed with a fetal abnormality, and the parents feeling that a termination is their best option. The woman, who with other children, cannot afford to be pregnant again, and just wants to do what is right for her family. You understand that no two stories are ever the same, and that pregnant people chose to terminate for myriad reason. There is no need to judge women for their choices, but to shepherd them through the process; through grief, relief, sadness and the possibility of a new beginning – one not possible through enforced pregnancy.

You see all of this and more, and still you continue to get up daily and go to work. You might have different reasons for doing what you do, but you make an incredible difference to people’s lives. We know antis like to paint abortion clinic staff and doctors as people who take away life, but in fact you give people back their lives, enabling them to choose another path beyond parenthood. For this reason and so many others, we thank you. You are the unsung heroes of the medical profession.

Warm regards