Frequently Asked Questions
What is The Obstetric Justice Project?
The Obstetric Justice Project (formerly The Reproductive Justice Story Project) is a grassroots patient advocacy initiative working to expose obstetric and gynaecological violence across Canada.
This is a platform to help patients and professionals speak up about systemic issues in reproductive healthcare in order to hold harmful systems accountable and influence change across the country.
The current work revolves around research reports and our Community Story Blog; a communal space for stories to be widely shared.
Story submissions from patients and professionals across Canada are now welcome. Click here for the story submission form.
What sorts of stories are welcome on the Community Story Blog?
•Stories from patients and families about all forms of reproductive healthcare and related issues in Canada
•Stories that expose mistreatment, neglect, discrimination, and abuse from healthcare providers, healthcare institutions, and healthcare systems
•Stories from students, doulas, birth workers, midwives, nurses, doctors, therapists, and other healthcare professionals related to the systems here in Canada
•Stories about funding, policy, politics, access, education/training, culture, and the delivery of services in your communities
•Stories about pregnancy, childbirth, loss, abortion, medical termination, fertility care, complications, surrogacy, adoption, postpartum care, newborn care, NICU stays, breast/chestfeeding or bottle feeding support, accessing contraception, sterilization, gynaecological care, endometriosis, PCOS, chronic reproductive health conditions, mental healthcare related to reproductive stages, child welfare threats/involvement, and more
•Both negative and positive experiences are welcome, however, the project’s focus is to bring attention to the need for respectful care, policy change, and justice for all
Once submitted, your story will be lightly proofread/formatted for the blog - the questions are removed and just your answers are published.
Some themes that continue to come up in story submissions and in the news include:
•mistreatment, neglect, discrimination, and abuse in all forms of reproductive healthcare
•care without consent, unnecessary procedures, routine use of non-evidence-based interventions
•poor bedside manner, poor communication, ignoring or dismissing patient concerns
•lack of respectful care, empathy, and compassion
•medical mistakes and negligence, breeching practice standards
•bullying, threats, coercion, lies, and pressure to submit to care provider's plans
•shaming, mocking, & belittling comments from care providers
•disproportionate rates of morbidity and mortality in groups that are targets of discrimination
•ineffective and inaccessible complaints processes
Why bother going public? How is my story going to change anything?
Going public with our stories is necessary because there is so little transparency and accountability in professional complaints channels. For the few who are able to speak up, the process of doing so can sometimes feel disempowering, disappointing, or re-traumatizing and does not always provide a sense of justice and closure or bring about meaningful change.
This doesn't mean that sharing our stories is futile - it just means it will take many more of us speaking out together, loudly and publicly on all available channels, to bring about change in the culture of reproductive healthcare in Canada.
Speaking up in any way may be difficult - and is not possible or safe for everyone - but it can be worthwhile if you're up for it!
The Community Story Blog is just one way to go public with your experience.
See our page of resources for more information about providing feedback and filing formal complaints about professionals who do harm.
Can you provide accessibility support for folks who require it in order to participate?
If you have accessibility needs, contact us and we’ll find a way to provide accommodations.
If writing your own story is not possible, record it as a voice memo on your phone and email it directly to email@example.com
Phone or skype sessions can be arranged, and in-person transcription is also available in the Greater Toronto Area.
Please reach out if you’d like some help to tell your story. If a translator is needed, we can figure out a way to make that happen too!
How can we support the project?
The Obstetric Justice Project is not currently funded and is run entirely on volunteer power. This means we rely on the generosity of friends, colleagues, and supporters (like you!) to cover the costs of web and survey hosting, and print materials.
Monetary donations are always welcome by e-transfer to firstname.lastname@example.org, or by PayPal (message for account details). Donations of skills, time, and services are also deeply valued.
The biggest way to show support is to spread the word. Consider sharing and engaging with our posts on social media.
Donations of landscape-aligned photos of hospitals and clinics, inside and out in your area for use on the blog are also needed. Please send photos to email@example.com if you’d like to help (cell phone pics are okay)
Who created the website art?
Our custom illustrations are by Halifax-based illustrator Mollie Cronin:
We would like to respectfully acknowledge that the land on which The Obstetric Justice 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 Obstetric Justice Project © 2017-2019