Information is power, and our stories are some of the most powerful tools we have in the fight for equitable access to reproductive health care.
We’ve launched a new page, ‘Hold Them to Account.’ It’s a form where you can tell us about any dodgy or upsetting experiences you have had with accessing abortion, sterilisation, or contraception since 2020.
Why are we asking this, and what will we do with the information?
New Zealand has excellent privacy laws. That means that when dealing with the health care system, everyone’s experience is their own, and the only people who will know about it are those that person chooses to tell. So far, so good.
But, that can make it difficult to identify recurring, systemic issues with locations, providers, or services. Let’s say you had a termination scheduled, and when you arrived there were protesters between you and the door, calling you a ‘baby killer.’ Maybe your GP said they ‘conscientiously objected’ and refused to tell you how to access services (which is against the law). Or perhaps you were looking for unbiased counselling, but stumbled into a ‘counselling service’ that turned out to be a front for anti-abortion proselytising.
Chances are, you weren’t the only one. But social stigma around talking about abortion and reproductive health care makes it hard for individuals and organisations like ALRANZ alike to recognise widespread issues.
That’s why we’re asking you to share your story – so that we can monitor what’s going on in this space and continue to advocate for better access to reproductive healthcare services. We need your help to challenge stigma and advocate for better services for everyone.
What we do with the information you provide is up to you. You can let us use your name and your story or just your story without your name. Or, if you’d prefer your story to remain completely private, that’s fine too – every bit of information helps us better understand what’s happening nationwide, identify patterns of error, and prevent other people from being denied proper healthcare.
We’ll use your stories to hold the health system to account. We might bring problems to the attention of the Ministry or Minister, or bring people together to file a group complaint with one of New Zealand’s dispute resolution bodies. Or, if someone wants to make an individual complaint, we can support them to advocate for themselves, or advocate on their behalf.
Abortion law reform was only the beginning. Changing the way the health system deals with reproductive health care, and women’s health care in general, remains both necessary and long overdue.
Problematic procedures and habits of behaviour from our old, dysfunctional abortion system may still be in place, making life difficult for people seeking health care.
We can only address the trouble we know about.
Please help us hold the system to account by sharing your experiences.