The current focus on access to abortion we are seeing in the media, in response to disturbing news from the United States, has many people questioning what the reality is here in Canada regarding seeking medical services for our sexual health, including abortion. As we near a federal election this year, and hear our own policy makers speaking out in ways that make us wonder if hard-earned rights achieved decades ago could really slip away now in 2019, Sexual Health Nova Scotia (SHNS) felt it was time to make our voices heard amongst the others.
Originally a branch of Planned Parenthood and currently an affiliate of Action Canada for Sexual Health and Rights, SHNS has always proudly been a pro-choice organization, and of course we still are today. However, things have changed in our understanding of abortion access, and we want to be clear about where we stand. This is the release of our new position statement on abortion, which we hope will help Nova Scotians understand a critical part of the ethical underpinnings of our organization.
“Sexual Health Nova Scotia supports the right of all individuals to accurate, non-judgmental information concerning all pregnancy options, and their right to choose and obtain an abortion.
Access to abortion services should be equally available to all Nova Scotians, and should be medically supervised, safe, and fully funded.
SHNS believes that:
- Pregnant individuals have the right to access abortion services without delay, limitations or restrictions, including the need to, or cost of, travelling excessive distances to find services.
- Providers of abortion services have the right to work with dignity in a safe, respectful, and supportive environment.
- Facilities that provide abortion have the obligation to deliver comprehensive abortion services in a safe, respectful, and supportive environment.
SHNS supports readily accessible, readily available, unrestricted, and unlimited access to medical and surgical abortion for all individuals, including the following:
- Guaranteed reciprocal billing through the Canada Health Act
- Classification of abortion as an “essential service”
- Guaranteed education and training of health professionals to provide abortion services
- Better access to pro-choice pre- and post-abortion counseling
- Better access to pre- and post-abortion medical care (including ultrasound and medical follow-up)
- Assured referral to abortion services when requested
SHNS believes that abortion-related care, like all sexual and reproductive health services, must include and be accessible to transgender, gender-diverse, and intersex individuals. Recognizing that not all people who can become pregnant identify as women, SHNS encourages the use of gender-neutral terms when discussing abortion.
As an affiliate of Action Canada for Sexual Health and Rights, SHNS supports efforts to increase the right of access to safe, legal abortions for individuals across Canada and worldwide.”
Sexual Health Nova Scotia 2019
Leigh Heide – Provincial Coordinator, Sexual Health Nova Scotia
Sexual Health Nova Scotia champions positive sexual health throughout the lifespan for all Nova Scotians. We envision a province where positive sexual health is held in the same regard as any other area of wellness, and people are able to enjoy their sexuality free from shame and violence, with access to judgement-free services when and where they need them.