Canada – Safe-access zones at abortion clinics are constitutional

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Opinion: Safe-access zones at abortion clinics are constitutional

Joyce Arthur
Updated: May 31, 2018

There’s been much misinformation in the debate over Bill 9, the proposed safe-access zone law to protect Alberta’s abortion clinics. Surprisingly, those who oppose the bill seem unaware that British Columbia has enforced a very similar law since 1995 and it’s been held to be constitutional.

Since the Alberta law was closely adapted from B.C.’s law, we can be confident it will also meet Charter scrutiny. In fact, based on the legal soundness of the B.C. law, similar laws have recently been passed in Newfoundland and Labrador, Quebec, and Ontario. Alberta is simply following in their footsteps.

Continued: http://edmontonjournal.com/opinion/columnists/opinion-safe-access-zones-at-abortion-clinics-are-constitutional

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Canada – Abortion pill prescriptions likely to rise after 4,253 women used new option last year

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Abortion pill prescriptions likely to rise after 4,253 women used new option last year

By Amanda Connolly, National Online Journalist Global News
April 27, 2018

One year after the abortion pill became available to Canadian women, new numbers show thousands have used the new option for reproductive health care and sexual health experts say they expect that number to keep rising.

Mifegymiso is the commercial name for a two-drug combination approved by Health Canada to be used to terminate early pregnancies up to nine weeks, which was approved in 2015 with tight restrictions but only became available to the public in January 2017.

Continued: https://globalnews.ca/news/4172876/abortion-pill-mifegymiso-canada-how-to-get/

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The Canada Summer Jobs kerfuffle: Full of sound and fury, signifying nothing

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The Canada Summer Jobs kerfuffle: Full of sound and fury, signifying nothing

Joyce Arthur
February 2, 2018

Should taxpayers fund summer jobs for youth where they will be trained to challenge and oppose the Charter rights of others? Of course not, but it's been going on under our noses for years. Anti-choice groups have been milking the Canada Summer Jobs fund to the tune of $1.7 million since 2010.

The story began in April 2017, when the Abortion Rights Coalition of Canada (ARCC) reported that many anti-choice groups had been getting Canada Summer Jobs funding for years -- primarily "crisis pregnancy centres" that dissuade women from abortion, but also some political groups, including Campaign Life Coalition, LifeSiteNews, and Canadian Centre for Bio-ethical Reform (CCBR). The latter group is infamous for its public display of gory signs showing alleged aborted fetuses and delivering similar graphic flyers to residences.

Continued at link: http://rabble.ca/columnists/2018/02/canada-summer-jobs-kerfuffle-full-sound-and-fury-signifying-nothing

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Canada: Should anti-abortion groups be allowed to register as charities?

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Should anti-abortion groups be allowed to register as charities?

By Amanda Connolly National Online Journalist Global News
January 16, 2018

Of the close to 300 branches of anti-abortion groups listed in a new accounting of such organizations in Canada, 77 per cent appear to hold charitable status.

But should they be?

For years, the answer from reproductive rights advocates has been a resounding “No,” but those calls have gained little traction politically among successive governments, either Conservative or Liberal.

Continued: https://globalnews.ca/news/3961321/anti-abortion-groups-registered-charity/

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Thirty years after Morgentaler ruling on abortion rights, Canada ‘still dealing with the same issues’

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Thirty years after Morgentaler ruling on abortion rights, Canada ‘still dealing with the same issues’
Only one in six hospitals in Canada performs abortions and some provinces have no standalone abortion clinics at all. New Brunswick, meanwhile, continues to refuse to fund abortions at the province’s only clinic.

By Brett Bundale, The Canadian Press
Wed., Dec. 20, 2017

It’s 1979. A 20-year-old student misses her period.

“I was in my third year of university. I used oral contraceptives but I got pregnant,” the woman, now in her late 50s, said in a recent interview from Montreal. “I hadn’t finished my degree. I wasn’t ready for a family.”

She avoided the French-language Catholic hospital where she lived in Moncton, N.B., and instead booked an appointment with a gynecologist at the city’s English-language hospital.

Continued at source: https://www.thestar.com/news/canada/2017/12/20/thirty-years-after-morgentaler-ruling-on-abortion-rights-canada-still-dealing-with-the-same-issues.html

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Canada: Sask. Party leadership candidate walks back comment on abortion for rape victims

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Sask. Party leadership candidate walks back comment on abortion for rape victims
The Canadian Press
Published November 23, 2017

REGINA — A candidate for premier of Saskatchewan is walking back his anti-abortion comments while some female politicians and women's groups say abortion should no longer be up for political debate.

Saskatchewan Party legislature member Ken Cheveldayoff told The Canadian Press on Wednesday that he believes life begins at conception and that abortions should be restricted only to women whose lives are in jeopardy. He was then asked about victims of sexual assault.

Continued at source: http://thechronicleherald.ca/canada/1523300-sask.-party-leadership-candidate-walks-back-comment-on-abortion-for-rape-victims

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Refusal to Treat Patients Does Not Work in Any Country—Even If Misleadingly Labelled “Conscientious Objection”

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Letter to the Editor: Refusal to Treat Patients Does Not Work in Any Country—Even If Misleadingly Labelled “Conscientious Objection”

On September 6, 2017 · In Perspectives
Christian Fiala and Joyce H. Arthur

We would like to point out some serious problems and contradictions in the study “Regulation of Conscientious Objection to Abortion: An International Comparative Multiple-Case Study,” by Wendy Chavkin, Laurel Swerdlow, and Jocelyn Fifield (Health and Human Rights Journal, vol. 19, no. 1, 2017).

The study purports to show that it is possible to accommodate health care providers’ “conscientious objection” (CO) to legal abortion while assuring that women with an unwanted pregnancy have access to health care services. The researchers examined four countries—England, Italy, Portugal, and Norway—all Western democracies with laws that allow CO for abortion. They conclude that England, Norway, and Portugal are able to permit CO by law and still provide and fund abortion care. Italy is the major exception, where access to legal abortion is seriously compromised due to a very high number of objectors.

Continued at source: Health & Human Rights Journal: https://www.hhrjournal.org/2017/09/letter-to-the-editor-refusal-to-treat-patients-does-not-work-in-any-country-even-if-misleadingly-labelled-conscientious-objection/

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Canada: Barriers to abortion services in Nova Scotia are ‘unconscionable’: activists

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Barriers to abortion services in Nova Scotia are 'unconscionable': activists

BRETT BUNDALE
HALIFAX — The Canadian Press
Published Tuesday, Aug. 15, 2017

More women have come forward to complain about abortion-access hurdles in Nova Scotia, as a national lobby group says it plans a renewed push in the province.

One woman says she was a 23-year-old university student when she missed a period and suspected her birth control had failed. She confirmed it with a pregnancy test in a Starbucks washroom.

“I was in this state of incredulity,” said the woman, who spoke on condition of anonymity. “But from the very beginning, I absolutely knew what my choice was.”

Continued at source: Globe & Mail: https://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/national/barriers-to-abortion-services-are-damaging-to-women-nova-scotia-activists/article35996933/

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There is no defense for ‘conscientious objection’ in reproductive health care

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There is no defense for ‘conscientious objection’ in reproductive health care

by International Campaign for Women's Right to Safe Abortion
Aug 8, 2017

by Christian Fiala, Joyce H Arthur  

European Journal of Obstetrics & Gynecology and Reproductive Biology

Abstract

“A widespread assumption has taken hold in the field of medicine that we must allow health care professionals the right to refuse treatment under the guise of ‘conscientious objection’ (CO), in particular for women seeking abortions. At the same time, it is widely recognized that the refusal to treat creates harm and barriers for patients receiving reproductive health care. In response, many recommendations have been put forward as solutions to limit those harms. Further, some researchers make a distinction between true CO and ‘obstructionist CO’, based on the motivations or actions of various objectors.

This paper argues that ‘CO’ in reproductive health care should not be considered a right, but an unethical refusal to treat. Supporters of CO have no real defence of their stance, other than the mistaken assumption that CO in reproductive health care is the same as CO in the military, when the two have nothing in common (for example, objecting doctors are rarely disciplined, while the patient pays the price). Refusals to treat are based on non-verifiable personal beliefs, usually religious beliefs, but introducing religion into medicine undermines best practices that depend on scientific evidence and medical ethics. CO therefore represents an abandonment of professional obligations to patients. Countries should strive to reduce the number of objectors in reproductive health care as much as possible until CO can feasibly be prohibited. Several Scandinavian countries already have a successful ban on CO.”

The main text of the paper opens by saying: “Remarkably, pro-choice researchers and ethicists who support CO in reproductive health care rarely try to defend the practice beyond a simple assertion that individual conscience is an important right. Certainly this is true for everybody in general, but in the field of reproductive health care, there has been little or no recognition of how CO unjustly privileges doctors’ conscience over patients’ conscience, not to mention their life and health[1]. The granting of CO also gives legitimacy to the religiously-based assumption that abortion is wrong − however, providing safe abortion is an ethical practice that has saved the lives and protected the rights of millions of women. Moreover, doctors have obligations to their patients and the public. They occupy a privileged position of trust and responsibility in our society, and profit from a monopoly on the practice of medicine.”

An important argument they put forward is that the “largely religious and non-verifiable basis of CO makes the laws and policies that try to limit its exercise impossible to enforce”. Later, they continue: “Anyone can cite CO and lie or exaggerate. Or be sincere. Who knows? The only way we can judge is in rare evidence-based situations, such as when doctors in Italy and Poland are caught exercising ‘CO’ in public hospitals while doing abortions for profit in private clinics.”

But the crucial question they pose is: Is it possible to protect providers’ claimed right to refuse to treat patients and patients’ right to health care at the same time? Their answer is: the more objectors there are, the less possible it is to protect patients’ right to health care. So they argue that “as a first step towards mitigating the harms of CO, countries could at least require all publicly-funded hospitals to provide abortions, as Portugal has done”. Finally, they call for countries “to steadily reduce the number of objectors and eventually abolish CO, not save it.”

Source: International Campaign for Women's Right to Safe Abortion: http://www.safeabortionwomensright.org/there-is-no-defense-for-conscientious-objection-in-reproductive-health-care/

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Canada: Abortion pill available in less than half of all Canadian provinces three months after rollout

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Abortion pill available in less than half of all Canadian provinces three months after rollout
Ashley Csanady | March 30, 2017

The abortion pill is available in less than half of all Canadian provinces and territories three months after it first went on sale in Canada.

Medical experts and advocates had hoped Mifegymiso — the official name of the two-medication drug also know as mifepristone or RU-486 — would help close the gaping urban-rural divide in access to abortion care services in Canada. But three months in, experts warn a strict regulatory regime could further entrench that divide and only existing abortion providers will be willing or able to distribute the pill.

Just five provinces and one territory have requested the drug since its late-January launch, according to its manufacturer: Ontario, Manitoba, Saskatchewan, Alberta, British Columbia and the Yukon.

continued: http://news.nationalpost.com/news/canada/abortion-pill-available-in-less-than-half-of-all-canadian-provinces-three-months-after-rollout

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