The Reproductive Justice Story Project is a grassroots patient advocacy organization. We exist to bring attention to mistreatment and abuse within our healthcare system as a result of a culture that is not always patient-centred and does not always prioritize communication, informed decision-making, and consent.
We’re using our platform to speak up about disrespectful and abusive care during pregnancy, childbirth, postpartum, and while accessing other forms of reproductive healthcare in Ontario, Canada in order to hold harmful systems accountable and influence change across the province.
If you have a personal story to share about reproductive healthcare you've received in Ontario, consider sharing it for our Community Story Blog.
Our Community Story Blog launched in January 2018 to serve as a public body of evidence of the range of issues faced by patients today. We want to start a wider conversation about obstetric violence, birth trauma, and the bullying, disrespect, and abuse that has become all too common in reproductive healthcare today.
It's clear the lack of access to respectful, inclusive, patient-centred care affects patients across demographic lines. However, marginalized populations are disproportionately impacted including Indigenous, Black, and people of colour, young people, fat folks, those living on low incomes, with disabilities, whose first language is not that of their care providers, those with diverse gender expression or presentation, less conventional family structures, mental health or trauma histories, and many others.
Research shows that racialized populations lack access to culturally safe care, face implicit bias and overt discrimination from care providers and health systems, and even experience higher rates of complications and infant/maternal mortality as a result. The intergenerational impacts of settler-colonial violence on the reproductive health and rights of Indigenous communities in Canada are omnipresent; from forced and coerced sterilizations, to high rates of Indigenous children in care across the country.
Barriers also exist for LGBTQIA2+ identified individuals and families seeking out and accessing quality care. For two-spirit, trans, non-binary, agender, and gender non-conforming people, care providers and care settings that are truly inclusive and gender-affirming are still scarce in most communities.
Reproductive Justice is about much more than the freedom to plan our own families. It's about dignity, autonomy, and self-determination in all stages of our reproductive lives.
Though the medical community is slow to change, we believe that change can happen if we all speak up together!
Our next planned initiative, an Ontario-wide survey on birth trauma and obstetric violence, is currently in the works.
The results of our independent patient feedback survey for St. Joseph's Health Centre, Toronto are now available:
content note: the community story blog contains subject matter that may bring up difficult feelings for some readers. please practice self-care while reading and check out our page of resources if you need support
We would like to respectfully acknowledge that the land on which The Reproductive Justice Story Project is based in Tkaronto (Toronto) is the traditional territory of the Wendat, the Anishnaabek, Haudenosaunee, Métis, and the Mississaugas of the New Credit. We acknowledge the intergenerational impacts of settler-colonial violence and their implications on Indigenous reproductive health, rights, and justice - historically and into the present day.
The Reproductive Justice Story Project © 2018