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Government of Canada Strengthens Access to Abortion Services – removing barriers to vital abortion services

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OTTAWA, ON, May 10, 2022 – Today, as the U.S. senate votes on the Democrats’ bill to enshrine abortion rights in national law, the Government of Canada announced more than $3.5 million in funding for projects by Action Canada for Sexual Health and Rights (Action Canada) and by the National Abortion Federation Canada (NAF Canada), coming out of the Sexual and Reproductive Health Fund. These projects will improve access by removing barriers to vital abortion services and offer accurate reproductive health information to Canadians.

The announcement made by Minister of Health, the Honourable Jean-Yves Duclos, and the Honourable Marci Ien, Minister for Women and Gender Equality and Youth, emphasized that “the Government of Canada firmly believes that everyone should have access to safe and consistent reproductive health services, including abortion. Although abortion has been legal in Canada for three decades, many continue to experience barriers to access.”

“Our government has and will always defend a woman’s right to choose while protecting and improving access to reproductive health services for all. As many individuals continue to face barriers and stigma when trying to access information and services regarding their sexual and reproductive health, organizations like Action Canada and NAF Canada are doing important work to find solutions. Together, we will continue to defend the right to safe and consistent access to reproductive health services.”The Honourable Jean-Yves Duclos
Minister of Health

The Canadian government says, “While barriers vary from coast to coast to coast, in some instances they include a lack of availability, a lack of financial and logistical resources required to travel to access abortion care, and lack of culturally-safe, stigma-free sexual and reproductive health services. Previous experiences of discrimination within the health care system also create access barriers for minority and marginalized groups, such as Indigenous and racialized people, members of 2SLGBTQI+ communities, and youth.”

Action Canada will receive $2,119,073 in funding over three years to expand its Access Line and Sexual Health Information Hub programs, which offer accurate and affirming sexual and reproductive health information and referrals. This project will improve access to financial assistance to cover travel and accommodation costs, as well as offers logistical support to individuals accessing abortion care.

“Access to abortion care remains a significant issue for Canadians, which means that many have to leave their home community to access the essential health care they need. We are pleased that the federal government has recognized this barrier that disproportionately impacts women and other people who can get pregnant,” said Jill Doctoroff
Executive Director, National Abortion Federation Canada.”Racialized people, those who have limited resources, young people, and LGBTQI2S+ people are the groups that face the most access barriers. We are grateful for the funding from Health Canada so that we can break down significant barriers,” said Doctoroff.

NAF Canada will receive $1,469,150 in funding over three years, to provide financial and logistical support to women seeking abortion services, train health care providers in providing abortion services, and ensure abortion facilities have the capacity to continue to provide services and related care.

“We know that Indigenous, racialized and 2SLGBTQI+ communities face intersectional barriers when it comes to sexual and reproductive health and today’s investment is another step toward breaking down these long-standing systemic issues,” said Marci Ien, Minister for Women and Gender Equality and Youth.”Sexual and reproductive rights are human rights, and these projects will help build a more inclusive health care system,” said Ien.

“It’s never a bad day to talk about women’s rights and their right to choose.” added Ien.

In their announcement, the Canadian government say these investments reflect Canada’s belief that women have the right to make decisions about their own bodies and that no matter who you are or where you live, we will always protect reproductive rights for all individuals in Canada.

Duclos also said there are seven more important related announcements to come.

Quick Facts

  • Budget 2021 committed $45 million over three years, starting in 2021-22, to improve access to sexual and reproductive health care support, information, and services for people in Canada who face the greatest barriers to access.
  • From this $45 million commitment, to date, nine contribution agreements have been signed, for a dollar value of $15.2 million. Of the nine projects, two address access to abortion, five address 2SLGBTQI communities and two address youth. Two of the nine projects include components focusing on Indigenous peoples. In addition, per capita funding of $9.7 million will be provided to the Province of Québec to support community-based organizations located in Québec.
  • The Sexual and Reproductive Health Fund was created to support a wide range of evidence-informed and innovative projects for underserved people in Canada who are at increased risk for poorer sexual and reproductive health outcomes, including 2SLGBTQI+ people, Indigenous and racialized populations, women and youth. Health Canada is planning to issue another call for proposals for organizations to apply for funding this summer.
  • In addition, Budget 2022 committed $79 million over six years to help support people in Canada who want to become parents as well as allow:
    • medical expenses related to a surrogate mother or a sperm, ova, or embryo donor fees paid to fertility clinics and donor banks in Canada in order to obtain donor sperm and ova to be eligible under the Medical Expense Tax Credit for 2022 and subsequent taxation years.

SOURCE Health Canada

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