Action Canada for Sexual Health and Rights is thrilled that the Health Minister of Alberta has introduced Safe Access Zone Legislation today that aims to protect the safety of patients and healthcare providers and addresses a serious barrier to abortion access across the province. This legislation recognizes the changing landscape of abortion care in Alberta following the adoption of comprehensive cost coverage of the medical abortion pill Mifegymiso.
The Alberta government continues to set an example for provinces across the country by taking meaningful steps to address historical gaps in access to abortion. Supporting reproductive rights requires governments to recognize the barriers individuals face when trying to access healthcare. Access to safe and legal abortion services is part of every person’s right to health and to make autonomous decisions about their own bodies. Removing barriers to access guarantees all people their human rights, not just those in select areas of the province or country.
In the summer of 2017, Alberta rolled out its universal cost coverage program for the abortion pill Mifegymiso. “Within six months, we are seeing proof that their approach is successful. Already, access to abortion is improving outside of major urban centers,” says Sandeep Prasad, Executive Director of Action Canada for Sexual Health and Rights. “but the threat of protests can be a barrier for physicians and other regulated health professionals like nurses and midwives wanting to provide the pill.”
Alberta is responding to the urgent call from community members and advocates to introduce safeguards that limit the serious impacts of harassment, intimidation and the threat of violence. “There is ample evidence that shows how anti-choice harassment and intimidation is a serious problem throughout the country and that Access Zone Legislation works to protect patients, practitioners and their staff,” says Prasad. “Alberta is making a strong statement that harassment and intimidation are unacceptable.”
The province of Alberta is offering a model for other provinces and territories to follow. Action Canada will be working to support and advise governments across Canada in taking similar action.
— END –
Director of Communications
Action Canada for Sexual Health and Rights
613-241-4474 ext. 7