The Reproductive Justice Story Project is a grassroots patient advocacy initiative. It exists 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 prioritize communication, informed decision-making, and consent.
The Community Story Blog launched in January 2018 to serve as a public body of evidence of the range of issues faced by patients across Ontario. We are now welcoming stories from across Canada.
It's clear the lack of access to respectful, inclusive, patient-centred care affects patients across demographic lines. However, the impacts are disproportionately felt by patients from marginalized communities and those with more vulnerable life circumstances. Indigenous, Black, and people of colour, young people, Two-Spirit and LGBTQIA+ folks, incarcerated and criminalized folks, those living on low incomes, with different (dis)abilities, whose first language is not that of their care providers, folks with diverse gender expression or presentation, less conventional family structures, mental health or trauma histories, and many others feel the gaps much harder than those of more privileged identities and experiences.
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 speak up together!
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 territory of the Wendat, the Anishnaabek, Haudenosaunee, Métis, and the Mississaugas of the Credit First Nation. 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