The Obstetric Justice Project (formerly The Reproductive Justice Story Project) is a grassroots patient advocacy initiative working to expose mistreatment and abuse in reproductive healthcare across Canada.
We’re building a public body of evidence of the issues that patients, families, and professionals face today.
It's clear the lack of access to respectful, inclusive, patient-centred reproductive healthcare affects patients across demographic lines. However, the impacts are disproportionately felt by some more than others.
Indigenous, Black, and people of colour, 2SLGBTQIA+ communities, young pregnant people, incarcerated and criminalized folks, those living on low incomes, with different (dis)abilities, whose first language is not that of their care providers, people 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 racism from care providers and health systems, and 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 2SLGBTQIA+ identified individuals and families seeking out and accessing quality care. Care providers and care settings that are truly inclusive and gender-affirming are still scarce in many communities.
In the context of reproductive healthcare, disrespect and discrimination are forms of violence. Whether you’ve witnessed or experienced microaggressions, off-hand comments, or blatant bigotry, your experiences count.
Obstetric Justice is about much more than agency over our own bodies during pregnancy and childbirth. 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 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