The Liberal government says it is giving $3.5 million to two projects to help improve access to abortion services in Canada.
The funding comes from a one-year budget commitment to spend $45 million over three years to help organizations make sexual and reproductive information and services more available.
“In 2022, in this country, sexual and reproductive rights are human rights, pure and simple,” Health Minister Jean-Yves Duclos told a news conference.
“The current situation in the United States reminds us that we cannot take our rights for granted.
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The funding comes as the U.S. Supreme Court awaits the overturning of the landmark Roe v. Wade is again drawing attention to abortion access on both sides of the border and on the eve of the annual “March for Life” anti-abortion rally on Parliament Hill.
Action Canada for Sexual Health and Rights will use federal funds to expand programs that provide accurate sexual and reproductive health information and referrals, as well as help cover women’s travel and accommodation costs.
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The National Abortion Federation will use the funds to provide women seeking abortion services with financial and logistical assistance, as well as to train health care providers to provide these services.
“What’s the point of having a right to something you can’t access?” Frédérique Chabot, director of health promotion for Action Canada, said at the press conference.
“Making sure abortion is accessible to everyone is the conversation that matters.”
The projected 2021 budget of $16 million would already be taken from the new funding, and advocates say that while the money is welcome, more permanent funding for sexual and reproductive health care is needed.
Health Canada says nine contribution agreements worth $15.2 million have been signed, including the two first announced on Wednesday that involve access to abortion.
There are five other projects involving LGBTQ communities and two aimed at young people.
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