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Abortion Access and Funding

#1 - Abortion Is a "Medically Required" Service and Cannot be Delisted

ARCC’s position is that all abortions are ‘medically necessary’. The Canada Health Act identifies ‘medically necessary’ as that which is “physician performed”.  It should not be left to politicians or religious leaders to determine what is and what is not medically necessary. Abortion is time sensitive and women must decide relatively quickly whether to continue or end a pregnancy.  To classify abortion as elective causes unnecessary delays and increases the medical risk to women. Abortion is a constitutional right for women and women must be guaranteed safe and timely access in hospitals and clinics.

#2 - Abortion Clinics Must be Fully Funded under the Canada Health Act

The current situation in which clinic abortions are covered by Medicare in some provinces but not in others is discriminatory and contravenes the Canada Health Act. The official position of Health Canada is that abortions must be publicly funded whether performed in a hospital or a clinic. Abortion clinics exist because not enough hospitals provide services and hospital access often imposes limitations on the service; clinics provide a medically required service.   Abortion clinics can be compared to private doctor’s offices and should therefore be considered as part of our universal Medicare system.

#3 - Clinic Funding - Overview of Political Situation - This paper explains the history and politics behind the funding of private abortion clinics. Only New Brunswick refuses to fund its clinic, while Ontario does not fully fund several newer clinics - both proviinces are in violation of the Canada Health Act.

#4 - Abortion and Reciprocal Billing

Abortion must be included in provincial reciprocal billing agreements. The Canada Health Act guarantees portability of services so that Canadians can obtain medical care outside their home province. The provinces determine what services will be exceptions. The list varies from province to province but may include such services as cosmetic surgery, sterilization reversals; or acupuncture; unlike abortion these are not time sensitive services. To exclude abortion seriously affects women who are temporarily living away from home, such as students, or who have recently relocated to another province and do not yet qualify for health care insurance in their new home province.

#5 - The Canadian Abortion Provider Shortage - Now and Tomorrow

ARCC is committed to ensuring that as abortion providers retire, there are trained professionals willing to replace them.  We will work with other organizations, including Medical Students for Choice, to facilitate training and encourage doctors to become abortion providers. 

#6 - Training of Abortion Providers / Medical Students for Choice

#7 - Access to Abortion in Rural and Remote Areas

While two-thirds of all abortions are done in a hospital and covered by Medicare, the availability of hospital abortions is disappearing from smaller communities across the country.  ARCC will lobby the federal and provincial governments to improve access to hospital abortions, particularly in rural areas, by forcing hospitals to comply with the Canada Health Act. The lack of services in rural areas places undue physical and financial stress on women when forced to travel long distances, find accommodation, take time away from work and, in some cases, have to pay for the abortion themselves.  For teenagers, victims of incest, or women living in an abusive relationship, the risks are much greater.  Provinces must also comply with the Canada Health Act to ensure the availability of Medicare-funded abortions, whether performed in a hospital or a clinic.

#8 - Problems with Hospital Access to Abortion

Hospitals have a responsibility to provide all medically required services.  ARCC is concerned that today less than one in five hospitals provide abortions, making it difficult for women to access safe and timely abortion services.  The barriers to hospital abortions must be removed so that women do not face discrimination and delays that put their health at risk.  Further, hospitals must create a safe and confidential environment for both patients and providers.

#9 - Hospitals vs Clinics: Comparisons of Abortion Care
This paper compares some of the characteristics of abortion care in clinics to that of hospitals in Canada.


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