31st January 2019
White Ribbon Australia Has Withdrawn Its Support For Reproductive Rights
BuzzFeed News broke the story that White Ribbon had withdrawn a statement that said “all women should have complete control over their reproductive and sexual health”.
The retracted statement was first issued in February 2017 during a previous push to decriminalise abortion in Queensland and highlights that research indicates unplanned pregnancy is more common among women experiencing domestic violence.
White Ribbon Australia did not announce the initial retraction, but BuzzFeed News understands members of the organisation contacted a number of pregnancy option counselling and sexual health providers to notify them of the shift on Thursday, the morning after politicians voted to decriminalise abortion in Queensland.
The anti-domestic violence charity’s (then) new chief executive Tracy McLeod Howe told BuzzFeed News the organisation had withdrawn the statement because "we are agnostic until our stakeholders tell us it is important to most of them".
The story was then covered by Fairfax, ABC, Women's Agenda, Guardian, News Corp and Ten Daily.
There was a big public backlash, McLeod Howe issued a mea culpa, the organisation then reissued the statement and McLeod Howe ultimately left the organisation claiming she was "pushed out".