21st Annuversary of the Morgentaler DecisionMonday, July 26 2010
On January 28, 2009, Canada will celebrate the 21 Anniversary of the Morgentaler decision, the Supreme Court’s ruling that decriminalize abortion, by striking downCanada's abortion law as unconstitutional.
Since then, Canada has become one of a small number of countries without a federal law restricting abortion. Additionally, abortion is a safe, legal, and insured service.
However, access is variable across the country and women are charged fees at some facilities. For example:
- There are no abortion services in Prince Edward Island.
- In New Brunswick, to have a publicly funded abortion a woman has to have approval from two doctors to have an abortion in the hospital. If she has an abortion at the clinic, then she will have to pay as the province will not pay for abortions outside publicly funded facilities, such as hospitals.
- New Brunswick funds only abortion care provided by obstetrician/gynecologists, not family physicians as is common throughout the rest of Canada.
- Abortion is not part of the inter-provincial billing agreement. Abortion is one of only a few things on the de-listed services and is the only time sensitive service on the list and this remains a significant barrier to care for women.
- The majority of abortion care is provided in urban centres and thus for women living in rural communities accessing care is a challenge
- In many regions of the country the demand for care is greater than what can be provided and thus waiting times becomes an issue. This is particularly problematic because abortion care is a time sensitive service.
- There has been an emergence of non-funded and non-regulated abortion facilities. Women need to be assured that the care they are receiving is the best, they are attending to accredited facilities and that their abortion care is funded.
The National Abortion Federation (NAF), the professional association of abortion providers in Canada and the United States, is a leading voice on abortion care and access in Canada. NAF’s mission is to ensure safe, legal, and accessible abortion care to promote health and justice for women. NAF members include health care professionals at clinics, doctors' offices, and hospitals, who together care for more than half the women in both countries who choose abortion each year.
While working on news articles and features concerning the 21st anniversary, NAF is available to provide research, history, current status, and background on abortion care in Canada. NAF’s President and CEO, Vicki Saporta has appeared on TV, radio, and in newspapers throughout Canada concerning abortions rights and access.
For more information about abortion in Canada, visit our website at www.prochoice.org/canada