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Conference 2024

Conference Program

This is the official conference program for Children by Choice’s 2024 conference. It includes the conference agenda, speaker information and sponsor list. At the conference, attendees can scan a QR code that will direct them to this page, which they can refer to during the conference.

This program is subject to change at the discretion of Children by Choice.

Download the CONFERENCE PROGRAM here

Keynote Speakers

You can find information on all of our amazing keynote speakers below!

Dr Carol Portmann

Maternal Fetal Medicine Specialist and Obstetrician

Dr Carol Portmann is an Australian trained obstetrician and gynaecologist specialising in Maternal Fetal Medicine and has a Masters of applied science in prenatal genetics and Fetal medicine from University College of London.

Carol worked at RBWH from 2000 first as a training fellow in maternal Fetal medicine then as a specialist. She was involved in creating the maternal Fetal medicine department at RBWH, and was heavily involved in Fetal diagnosis and management, care of high risk pregnancy, and the provision of termination of pregnancy for maternal and Fetal issues at RBWH until 2012. For 20 years, Dr Portmann advocated for women to be able to receive timely pregnancy option counselling and care and was involved in the move to change the law regarding termination of pregnancy in Queensland. Carol worked with Marie Stopes Australia providing medical and surgical termination of pregnancy and contraception for 10 years until 2023. She now works primarily in private obstetric and gynaecology ultrasound, and is a committee member and examiner for RANZCOG Maternal Fetal Medicine.

Isabelle Oderberg

Journalist and Author of Hard to Bear

Isabelle Oderberg was born in Melbourne but moved to Hong Kong soon after, spending her formative years there with her family. She came back to Melbourne, finished high school and completed a Bachelor of Arts (Journalism). After working in the tech trade press, she headed to London where she worked within the financial trade press, as well as at Reuters and Dow Jones Newswires. She returned to Australia in 2006 to work at Australian Associated Press as lead mining writer before becoming founding news editor at Business Spectator, where was later interviews editor and China commentator. She then moved to the Herald Sun, becoming the country’s first social media editor, before being elevated to become national social media editor for News Corp in Australia. She then shifted into the not-for-profit space as social media lead for Australian Red Cross, before working in a variety communications and media relations roles. Most recently she was acting editor of Pro Bono News, in addition to her freelancing work and writing her first book, Hard to Bear: Investigating the science and silence of miscarriage. She has written for Meanjin, The Guardian, ArtsHub, Beat Magazine, The Age & SMH and more. She was a founding committee member of Women In Media Victoria, a board member at the Melbourne Press Club and Quills judge for five years and has lectured extensively in journalism. She is the former editor of Pro Bono News and is now the Deputy CEO of the Public Interest Journalism Initiative.  

Our 2024 Guest Speakers

Exploring pregnancy options within Indigenous culture and communities

What happens when a nurse asks if there is such a thing as culturally safe abortion care?

What happens when a female and male Aboriginal health worker commit to finding out?

Natasha, Morgan and Erin share their experiences of travelling to remote Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities to open up long overdue conversations on pregnancy options.

Their story began at the 2022 Children by Choice conference. Two years later, through courageous conversation and consultation, culturally safe care is taking shape. It involves women, men and all streams of healthcare providers.  The teams’ journey with this work is raw and real and gaining attention from across the country.

Natasha Chong - Senior Health Worker, Cultural Safety Project

Natasha is passionate about supporting and inspiring women of all ages to become empowered to take their stance of ownership for their health and well-being by providing my support doing their journey.

Morgan Dempsey - Indigenous Health Worker Coordinator

Morgan is a Senior Indigenous Health Worker with a coordination role at Cairns Sexual Health Service. He has been in this role for the last 30 years and enjoys working in sexual health because he gets to support our Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander clients, especially our male clients, in accessing services and also give our non-indigenous staff a better understanding of Indigenous culture.

Erin McBride - Sexual Health Coordinator

Erin lives and works in beautiful Gimuy, Cairns. She combines 15 years of nursing experience with a Masters in Sexual and Reproductive/Public Health to improve rural and remote abortion access and workforce sustainability. Erin coordinates two Clinical Excellence Queensland projects: Pregnancy Options and Culture and the Queensland Termination of Pregnancy (ToP) Community of Practice. She is also co-chair of the Queensland ToP working group.

Disability Advocate, Political Activist, Artist and Model

Alyce Nelligan is a disability advocate, political activist, and proud disabled woman. She partners with many community organisations including being part of the Y Connect Advisory Committee for the YWCA. She is also a brand ambassador for the Australian fashion boutique Little Party Dress and Colour My Wheels who manufacture wheel covers.

She can be found @princessspeedy on Instagram. She also has a successful political career, including running on the Greens Senate ticket in the last federal election. Alyce is also a mother to three young children and has also run educational, inclusion and arts workshops for over a decade.

Associate Professor, Activist, Author of Abortion Care is Healthcare

Barbara Baird lives on Kaurna country and recognises the unceded sovereignty of Kaurna people. She works in Women’s and Gender Studies at Flinders University. Her research concerns the histories and politics of sexuality and reproduction in C20th and C21st Australia, with a particular focus on abortion, and with attention to the ways in which these histories intersect with the politics of race and nation. Her book Abortion Care is Health Care (Melbourne University Publishing) came out in 2023 and Personal Politics: Sexuality, Gender and Remaking of Citizenship in Australia (Monash University Publishing), co-authored with historians Michelle Arrow, Leigh Boucher and Robert Reynolds, comes out in June 2024. She has been Co-Convenor of the South Australian Abortion Action Coalition (saaac) since 2017, the activist group which lead the campaign for the decriminalisation of abortion in SA and continues to campaign for better access to abortion care. Barbara became a Member of the Order of Australia (AM) in the 2024 Australia Day Honours List for her service to abortion activism, as did her saaac Co-Convenor Brigid Coombe.

Author of Tissue

Madison Griffiths is an author, artist and producer. Her debut book Tissue, published by Ultimo Press in 2023, is a boldly poetic meditation on abortion and what it has the power to represent. She is the co-producer of Tender, a podcast that tracks the journey of individuals as they decide to leave an abusive relationship. In 2022, she was awarded the Walkley Foundation Our Watch Award for Excellence in Reporting on Violence Against Women, alongside co-producer, Beth Atkinson-Quinton. Her work largely centres around the lived experiences of women, especially those whose realities are shrouded in stigma, opposition and rebellion.

Conference Sponsors

Huge thank you to our amazing Sponsors for our Conference! Without them, this conference wouldn’t be the success that it is.

If you have any questions regarding our Reproductive Rights & Abortion Conference, please contact us at [email protected]