July 19, 2018 (ST. ANDREWS, NB) – On the first day of the Council of the Federation (CoF), the meeting of all Canadian Premiers, Newfoundland and Labrador became the seventh province to announce a plan to cover the cost of the abortion pill, Mifegymiso. Last year, Action Canada for Sexual Health and Rights came to the Council of the Federation to give provinces and territories a 1 year deadline. Provinces and territories both large and small – from coast to coast to coast- have demonstrated it is both necessary and possible to implement universal cost coverage.
Newfoundland and Labrador joins the majority of provinces working to improve access to this medically necessary service, especially in rural and remote areas. Meanwhile in Ontario, parents, teachers and young people are reeling from the news that they will be denied quality sex-ed come September.
Action Canada is at the CoF, to pressure Premiers to cover the cost of Mifegymiso and ensure the rights of all young people to high-quality sex-ed.
“We congratulate the tireless work of advocates in Newfoundland and Labrador, particularly medical students, who recognized that, like any other health service, abortion must be part of Canada’s universal healthcare system,” says Sarah Kennell, of Action Canada for Sexual Health and Rights. “As pleased as we are about this victory, we remain deeply concerned regarding unequal abortion access and roll-backs to quality sex-ed in other provinces.”
“These are human rights violations,” said Kennell. “Saskatchewan, Manitoba and the territories are creating a two-tiered medical system, while in Ontario, students will miss out on information related to consent, LGBT rights and cyberbullying.”
Access to comprehensive health information and services shouldn’t depend on your postal code. Governments in Canada have the obligation to ensure all people in Canada have equal access to safe abortion care and comprehensive sexuality education. When it comes to sexual and reproductive rights, the need is urgent. The time is up, the tide has turned.
Darrah Teitel, 613-867-5864
Notes to editors
- To this day, those who wish to access this medical service often still face many barriers, despite it being legalized 30 years ago. This common procedure is an integral part of a comprehensive package of reproductive health services. It is past time that our governments, provincial, territorial and federal, step up to the challenge that is ensuring better access to abortion.
- Unequal access to abortion care across the country is still a pressing issue.
- The majority of provinces (including: New Brunswick, Alberta, Québec, Ontario, Nova Scotia, British Columbia), have moved towards ensuring a more equitable access to the abortion pill by covering the cost of the medication which can range from $350-$450. Two provinces (Saskatchewan and Manitoba) and the three territories have yet to commit to making sure that someone’s postal code or the content of their bank account doesn’t dictate their ability to access medical care when they need it.