The Hotline

Evie Godfrey2023 Longlist, 2023 Opening Up Prize Shortlist, 2023 Shortlist - Main Prize, 2023 Shortlist - Social Good, Opening Up

Accessed by chatbot, The Hotline allows participants to explore anecdotes on reproductive healthcare with each user creating their own choose-your-own-adventure style narrative. Satirising anti-choice pregnancy helplines, The Hotline explores how patriarchal medicine impacts those experiencing reproductive health issues and the choose-your-own-adventure format comments on the illusion of choice people have when it comes to reproductive rights in Australia. This work explores the pitfalls of reproductive health for AFAB people through thoughtful satire and verbatim interviews of people’s lived experiences. This includes references to abortion, miscarriage and childbirth, as well as issues that receive less attention in the public realm such as hysterectomy, menopause and gender-affirming healthcare.

This work endeavours to highlight Australia’s own history of using reproductive freedoms as a political bargaining chip or personal crusade and asks audiences to consider what happens when the deeply personal becomes intensely political. On face value, Australians enjoy access to free healthcare, separation of church and state, and legal freedoms. In reality, many people face nonlegal barriers when it comes to reproductive healthcare including financial and geographic hurdles with additional barriers for First Nations peoples, refugees and people with disabilities. The Hotline reflects on the means by which our freedoms have been stifled in the past in the hope of not repeating the same mistakes in the future. How then Health Minister Tony Abbott staffed a pregnancy support helplines with religious, anti-choice operators. How Prime Minister John Howard’s deal with Senator Harridene to privatise Telstra came at the expense of restricting abortion drug Mifepristone to a single provider. How Harradine then restricted Australian foreign aid from distributing training, education or information on abortion.

Participants can play multiple times to uncover up to six different endings with many variables and easter eggs to discover in between. The Hotline comes to a climax with players reading an account of a person with lived-experience of questionable reproductive healthcare.
To experience The Hotline chatbot, visit the link and click the telephone icon in the bottom right corner. It is best experienced on desktop; it does not work well with screen readers. Please note: the chatbot contains scrolling content and therefore may not be suitable for people experiencing migraines, epilepsy or motion sickness. The Hotline is also accessible via an Australian 1800 number for those requiring an audio based version of the work.