This holiday season, will you be the change?

Posted on December, 12 2017 by Action Canada

We’re at a defining moment for reproductive rights in Canada. And you are an important part of history in the making.

The progress made through the campaign for better access to Mifegymiso (the abortion pill) has put issues of abortion access back into public discourse and continues to create major opportunities to address historical inequalities. Action Canada is taking a leadership role through the campaign and our influence among decision-makers is growing. Will you join us?

Right now what lies before the leaders of this country is a choice. It’s a choice between whether Canada is going to resolve the long-standing barriers to access in our country or accept the status quo. If things don’t change, abortion will remain largely a privilege for folks in urban centres close the US border.

Mifegymiso has the potential to change all this. It holds the promise of access to abortion within every community – urban, rural or remote.

We’re getting closer. But we have a long way to go! Provinces have signed on to provide cost coverage of Mifegymiso, but the rollout has been uninspiring at best,  despite government pledges and commitments.

Will you help? Every dollar is a step forward.

As a supporter your help goes both “upstream” to address the barriers standing  in the way and “downstream” to support the very people who face challenges in accessing services, stigma-free support, and objective fact-based information.

Now is not the time to rest! Every day we here about anti-choice
politicians in the media, provinces staying silent on abortion
access, and myths about abortion and contraception.

Policy shifts in the US are being felt around the world with funding losses and legal changes that eliminate women and trans people’s right to choose.

After 30+ years we are closer than ever to abortion being a readily available medical service without stigma, where people have full autonomy (fully have the right to choose what happens to them and their body). Bodily autonomy is central to human rights work. And human rights are central to the work we do.

On Action Canada’s Access Line, we hear from countless folks, mostly younger or lower income women, who are seeking access to abortion and cannot find these services in their own communities. They are forced to travel sometimes hundreds of kilometers, often having to raise the travel funds themselves from family and friends, while negotiating the multiple barriers or gatekeepers in the way of access to services that are fundamental to rights!

Our Emergency Fund helps people in Canada access abortion, people who otherwise wouldn’t have access despite almost 30 years since the Morgentaler decision! There is so much demand that each year the fund is still drawn down to $0.

We need your support to be able to offer access *right now* and we need your support to continue the fight to make barriers obsolete.

Thirty years ago, the Supreme Court of Canada agreed that the abortion provision in the Criminal Code violated people’s rights. Strong advocates across the country rallied together to remove senseless barriers, advocates that have been working on this issue for 30+ years!

Action Canada carries this rich history in the work of our predecessor organizations who saw sexual and reproductive rights advocacy through crucial times in the past: Canadian Abortion Rights Action League (CARAL), Planned Parenthood Federation of Canada (PPFC), Canadians for Choice (CFC), Canadian Federation for Sexual Health (CFSH), and Action Canada for Population and Development (ACPD). We remain committed to their vision and are grounded by the real stories of real people who come to us daily.

The path to change has been shaped by the courage and determination of activists, health care advocates and feminists. We keep rising to the ongoing challenge, adding our own energy and expertise. We want Canada to be a leader in sexual and reproductive health and rights and Action Canada brings lifetimes of expertise as well as a network of dedicated supporters, experts, and advocates to the table.

This year, you have been a part of the tidal wave of support that led to real changes in the landscape of access in Canada. You have helped push Health Canada to drop the unnecessary regulations that were curbing access to the drug. Together we rallied activists, politicians and the medical community, wrote letters, got petitions into the House of Commons, navigated the lack of national pharmacare and shot for the stars by advocating for universal cost coverage for the abortion pill. We leveraged expertise on sexual health and rights across the country, engaged our elected officials at ministerial meetings and made sure the media and the public were kept informed! We worked “upstream” and “downstream” at the same time for #RealAccessNow!

We are building on the momentum in the fight for reproductive health and rights! And your support is urgently needed! Your gifts help us continue to knock down barriers that stand in the way of access to services and information people need to make decisions that are the right for them. It helps fight the “downstream” barriers people face in real time every day, like being unable to pay for a train ticket, and the “upstream” that exist today, like holding provinces accountable to their promises for increased access and choice.

Canada’s provinces have made promises to make access more equitable. Canada’s international assistance policy has declared itself feminist. After years of education, advocacy, and public health research the picture upstream is changing but the promise of choice, autonomy, and access will take real work to be felt downstream.

This next year we need to keep up with the effort! With your help we can see this year’s promises realized.

Our campaigning work needs support so that we can push the hold-out provinces and territories to commit to universal cost coverage of the gold standard of medical abortion (as other jurisdictions have done). We need to work to ensure that doctors and nurse practitioners are supported to start prescribing Mifegymiso and that midwives are empowered too. Without such support, we will fall short of realizing rural and remote access and a vision where abortion is available in all communities across Canada.

What else are we doing to keep up the pressure for #RealAccessNow? With your support, we can replicate the win in Ontario with Bubble Zone legislation across the country to ensure that new and existing abortion providers are protected as they provide abortion care. And we can ensure all people, including federal patients and uninsured folks, have access to the care they need.

You can take additional action to help build the national sexual and reproductive health and rights movement today. 

Because he believes in our work, a generous donor is matching every new dollar donated until the end of the year by three! That means, your dollar has the power of $4. Please share our Facebook and Twitter posts about the donor match with people who, like you, believe that all people should be able to make choices about their bodies that are right for them!

When I last spoke to him about the donation, here’s what he said:

For years I’ve been haunted by the “upstream story,” famous in public health circles and credited to Irving Zola. He tells the story of a person who sees and rescues a series of drowning people caught in a river current. Finally, the individual goes upstream to investigate why so many people are falling into the river in the first place, but in the process, people continue to drown. Action Canada works “upstream” and “downstream” by providing direct support through the Access Line and emergency funds for people with lower income who have to travel in order to access the care they need, by helping resource professionals with stigma-free and factual information, and by shaping policy and systems to address deep systemic challenges in sexuality and reproduction. From the global to the local, change is needed. Advocates and health professionals around the world are making ground through a sexual and reproductive health and rights movement that we can be a part of.

Will you join him in supporting this vital work? Please give what you can today.

As we near the 30th anniversary of the Morgentaler decision it is time to ensure the right to choose is truly available to all, regardless of income tax bracket or postal code.