Hidden Forces: Shining a light on Reproductive Coercion (White Paper)

Marie Stopes Australia, 2018

Reproductive Coercion (RC) is behaviour that interferes with the autonomy of a person to make decisions about their reproductive health. Many Australians do not have full control over their reproductive choices. Their choices are constrained by people in their familial and community networks or by structural forces at play in our society.

Reproductive Coercion is gaining greater attention in Australia. Brave people are coming forward to share stories of their lived experience of Reproductive Coercion in order to build greater understanding of this important issue and how it has shaped their lives.

For twenty months, Marie Stopes Australia coordinated a public consultation process that has culminated in this White Paper on Reproductive Coercion. This White Paper has emerged following a roundtable of 50 stakeholders, two phases of public submissions, comment on a draft White Paper and targeted engagement of leading
academics, healthcare professionals and psychosocial specialists.

84 submissions that have informed the development of this White Paper. These submissions have provided a wide spectrum of views on this complex issue.

 

Disrupting gender norms in health systems: making the case for change

The Lancet, Gender Equality, Norms, and Health Steering Committee, Published May 30, 2019

Summary

Restrictive gender norms and gender inequalities are replicated and reinforced in health systems, contributing to gender inequalities in health.
In this Series paper, we explore how to address all three through recognition and then with disruptive solutions.
We used intersectional feminist theory to guide our systematic reviews, qualitative case studies based on lived experiences, and quantitative analyses based on cross-sectional and evaluation research.
We found that health systems reinforce patients’ traditional gender roles and neglect gender inequalities in health, health system models and clinic-based programmes are rarely gender responsive, and women have less authority as health workers than men and are often devalued and abused.
With regard to potential for disruption, we found that gender equality policies are associated with greater representation of female physicians, which in turn is associated with better health outcomes, but that gender parity is insufficient to achieve gender equality. We found that institutional support and respect of nurses improves quality of care, and that women’s empowerment collectives can increase health-care access and provider responsiveness.
We see promise from social movements in supporting women’s reproductive rights and policies. Our findings suggest we must view gender as a fundamental factor that predetermines and shapes health systems and outcomes. Without addressing the role of restrictive gender norms and gender inequalities within and outside health systems, we will not reach our collective ambitions of universal health coverage and the Sustainable Development Goals. We propose action to systematically identify and address restrictive gender norms and gender inequalities in health systems.

Reproductive coercion research – seeking GPs

The University of Melbourne, May 2019

Reproductive coercion (RC) is an under recognised form of abuse experienced by Australian women. RC refers to a group of behaviours that intend to control a woman with regards to reproduction. Contraceptive sabotage, pregnancy coercion and controlling the outcome of a pregnancy are all forms of RC and often occur alongside other forms of abuse in a relationship.

Researchers at the The University of Melbourne are undertaking a project exploring GP’s experiences responding to RC. They aim to understand how GPs identify and respond to this type of abuse. They ask that any antenatal care GPs, or GPs who prescribe medical termination of pregnancy medication to participate in a confidential interview with a member of their team. The interview can be conducted either by telephone or face to face, at a time convenient to your busy schedule. Interviews take approximately 20 minutes and all interview data will be de-identified.

Ethics ID: 1853440.

To register your interest in the project or to gain more information about the project please contact: Molly Wellington

Women and Sexual and Reproductive Health Position Paper: Second Edition, 2019

Australian Women’s Health Network Inc., 2019

The Australian Women’s Health Network first published its Women and Sexual and Reproductive Health Position Paper in 2012. Since then significant work has been undertaken across Australia in this area and a number of its recommendations have been implemented. This has resulted in a robust on going public conversation and a greater understanding of women’s sexual and reproductive ill health, its impact, what drives it and how best to prevent it. These gains have only been possible through continuing evidence-informed advocacy, research and practice development.

In light of the new knowledge and experience available, and changes to the political, organisational and social landscape in 2019, the Australian Women’s Health Network has updated its Women and Sexual and Reproductive Health paper to produce
this Second Edition.

This paper advocates for a rights-based approach to ensuring all women can access comprehensive sexual and reproductive health care appropriate to their needs,
regardless of their location, age, sexuality, financial status and religious and cultural background. It explores seven key areas through which good sexual and reproductive
health for Australian women can be achieved.

These are:

1. promoting positive and respectful attitudes to sex and sexuality

2. developing women’s health literacy

3. increasing reproductive choice

4. facilitating women’s health throughout pregnancy and birth

5. expanding prevention and treatment of reproductive cancers and menstrual issues

6. improving prevention and treatment of sexually transmitted infections (STIs)

7. equipping the health workforce to better respond to women’s health needs.

Understanding U=U for women living with HIV

ICASO, September 2018

Since its announcement, Undetectable equals Untransmittable (U=U) has
become a call to action to assert that when someone living with HIV has an
undetectable viral load they cannot transmit HIV. Additionally, the U=U message
is evolving to challenge notions of HIV infectivity, vulnerability and stigma.

The science behind the U=U message provides the evidence that we can reduce the anxiety related to the sexual transmission of the HIV virus with confidence.

To contribute to getting this message out, ICASO produced a Community Brief on U=U. This community brief explains why it is so important to understand what ‘U=U’ means for women. The brief documents the experiences and needs of individual women living with HIV from all over the world. Important questions still remain that need to be answered to make the U=U message relevant, understandable and more meaningful to women in their diversity.

  • Download the community brief in English here

Informed consent, individual care vital to ensure reproductive rights of transgender Australians

The Conversation

By Damien Riggs

July 11, 2018 6.02am AEST

For any person needing medical care, informed consent is vital. Yet for transgender people, informed consent may be hindered by how medical professionals share information. This is especially the case in the context of reproductive health, where speaking about reproductive materials is often highly gendered.

Both the World Professional Association for Transgender Health Standards of Care and the Royal Children’s Hospital’s Standards of Care and Treatment Guidelines for Trans and Gender Diverse Children and Adolescents emphasise the importance of discussing fertility preservation as an option for transgender people. Yet little guidance is given on how to do so in ways that are inclusive.