Over $3.5 million in federal funding was announced to improve abortion services in Canada, and NAF Canada was one of the recipients of this funding.
“Some of the programs that we are currently doing we have need for expansion. So we do some training for people who are providing abortion care, as well as folks who are interested. But with this funding we are really able to expand our training, as well as our patient or pregnant people support,” said NAF Canada Executive Director Jill Doctoroff.
She said access to information for abortion services is difficult to come by, and oftentimes people don’t know if their own community has any of those services.
“I was the Director of the Elizabeth Bagshaw Clinic in Vancouver which provides abortion care, but when I was at the clinic we often would see people from other health authorities as well, because people didn’t know where to go or what to do to get care in their communities.”
Doctoroff noted that people can reach out to NAF Canada or other organizations to find out if there are services like that in their community.
“There are some abortion care services in Prince George, but it’s not like a program that you can call the hospital and you can get access to care that way. It’s sort of a bit more of like a word of mouth or like public health unit or sexual health clinic might know where to refer people.”
“But if someone’s at home doing a home pregnancy test for example, and find out they’re pregnant and decide they want abortion care, they might not have interacted with the healthcare system, and might not know where to go to get that care,” added Doctoroff.
She said the reason why these services aren’t talked about more often is due to the stigma attached to it, but said they are advocating for more education on the topic.
When reaching out about abortion services here in the north, Northern Health offered the following statement:
“Northern Health, with the support of a network of physicians across the North, provide a range of services and advice for pregnant women, including abortion services. It is important that women understand all of the options available to them, and that they have the appropriate supports in place for their decisions. This can include questions or requests for an abortion, and they can be referred to an appropriate physician or medical clinic.
Individual physicians decide if they will provide abortion services, and if they do, what types they wish to provide. Women may call the Pregnancy Options Line for referral to a doctor in their area. Abortion services are covered by the Medical Services Plan and can be performed in a clinic or a health-care setting in the North. For more information, women should talk to their health-care provider or call the Pregnancy Options line to discuss their individual circumstances and options. These would include medical or surgical options, and so access and any need to travel would depend on individual circumstances.
Northern Health is committed to ensuring everyone needing to access health services can do so safely and with respect for their privacy.”