The sixth in a series of occasional Prochoice Highway updates

The ALRANZ Crew at the FP conference stall


The prochoice highway spent 10 days on a whirlwind in Wellington. A highlight of the stay was the 3-day Family Planning Conference a
in particular hearing and meeting the keynote speaker, Cecile Richards, president of Planned Parenthood Federation of America and their Action Fund. Cecile’s talk set the stage for lots of focus and discussion around advocacy and how we might do a bette
r job of it. The conference also included a talk about the Highway titled “Dispatches from the Prochoice Highway”, which also prompted some good discussion. There were also presentations from ALRANZ's Dr. Morgan Healey on "Who Counts? The Framing of Abortion in New Zealand Newspapers"; and Secretary, Annabel Henderson-Morrell on "More than Like: Using digital channels to strengthen reproductive rights activism in New Zealand". This wee update can't come close to doing the conference justice. If you’d like to read more, join ALRANZ  whose  November Newsletter will include several reports from the conference

Pit Stop

The last event before the Highway headed to the South Island on Monday 4 November was a Pitstop at the Southern Cross on Sunday night. The turnout was great, and there was a really useful discussion, following on from the conference, about how to organise and whether a focus on equitable abortion access – given the long distances and waiting times women in some parts of the country face – might engage more people in the issue. Keep an eye out for some more discussion and action around this issue. 

Other Stuff

Above, the crew who came out in Cuba Mall, Wellington, for a spot of street campaigning (minus Dame Margaret Sparrow, who was taking the photo), on Tuesday 29 October. The Highway also took part in a second session of Choice Work -- prochoice craft work; and a prochoice picnic in Plimmerton. 

Headed South
The Highway headed south on 4 November and, besides street campaigning in Picton, Blenheim, Nelson, Westport and on to Christchurch, has events planned in Nelson on Thursday 7th and Christchurch on Monday 11th.  Please check out the Highway events page for details

Tweet Feat

Yes, we got to huddle with @CecileRIchards, and she tweeted a pic of it to her 31,367 followers. Yes, sorry it's tiny, but if you join Twitter and hunt for @CecileRichards, voila! It says "With @alranztweets in Wellington. Fierce champions for women." So there.

Abortion Stigma
Another important event at the conference was George Parker's session on abortion stigma. In what has been called the "prevalence paradox", Parker says, women do not feel they can talk openly or freely about their abortion experience despite the experience being a very common one. "Pervasive silence and secrecy are predictable responses to the persistent stigma of abortion, which in turn helps abortion stigma persist." Yes, it's a vicious circle. George proposed some strategies for addressing abortion stigma in Aotearoa New Zealand -- to try to create a climate in which women are "free to both choose abortion and to talk about it openly."


Dame Margaret Sparrow and I both sold out of our books at the Family Planning conference (respectively, "Abortion Then & Now: New Zealand Abortion Stories 1940-1980" and "Fighting to Choose: The Abortion Rights Struggle in New Zealand"; both Victoria University Press) which was fantastic. The good news is, the Prochoice HIghway has more of both in stock and you can order them online here or visit a Highway event!
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