NDP Critic for Women and Gender Equality Leah Gazan issued the following statement:
“The Liberal government needs to step up and give provinces the means to protect and defend access to abortion and the reproductive health rights of women and gender diverse people.
Last week, a young woman in Quebec was refused access to emergency oral contraceptives, also known as the morning-after pill, at a local pharmacy. This was an unacceptable violation of her right to access reproductive health care. The decision to seek emergency oral contraception, or any reproductive health care, is already a difficult decision, and to have barriers stand in the way of accessing that care is an injustice.
Reproductive health care is protected under Section 7 of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, and governments have an obligation to protect abortion and reproductive health care access under the Canada Health Act in order to receive health transfers from the federal government.
The right to access reproductive health care services is a human right, and the federal government has neglected their obligation to protect this right. This includes the failure of enforcing the Canada Health Act, which forced New Brunswick's only abortion clinic to drastically reduce the services it provides. This is unacceptable.
The Liberals must step up and protect access to reproductive health services by enforcing the Canada Health Act, and there must be consequences for provinces that fail to live up to their obligations under the Act.
At a time when reproductive health care and access to safe abortion is under attack, governments must do everything in their power to remove barriers, expand equal access, and protect the right of women and gender diverse people to make decisions about their own bodies.
Reproductive health care is a human right. Access to abortion is a human right and New Democrats will continue to fight for reproductive justice.
It’s time for the Liberal government to step up, live up to their word, and enforce the Canada Health Act.”