Recent responses from Alberta politicians make it clear Alberta isn’t immune from the politics that seek to roll back the right to choose.
The recent decision by the United States Supreme Court to overturn Roe vs Wade has put a spotlight on the right to choose and access abortion services here in Canada, leading many Albertans to worry.
“While the US Supreme Court decision doesn’t directly change any laws here, Albertans are right to be concerned,” said Chris Gallaway, executive director of Friends of Medicare. “The comments many Alberta politicians have been making since this court decision make it clear that there is a coordinated political movement seeking to roll back the right to choose here.”
For instance, Alberta MP for Peace River—Westlock, Arnold Viersen, a well-known anti-abortion activist, openly celebrated the decision by the US Supreme Court. He has also endorsed former Finance Minister Travis Toews who is a front runner in the ongoing UCP leadership race which will select our new Premier. Toews, a fellow self-proclaimed 'pro-life' politician, recently declared at a debate that he intends to expand conscience rights for health care providers.
“Talk of expanding ‘conscience rights’ in health care is political pandering, dangerous and completely unnecessary,” said Gallaway. “Previous attempts to bring in such conscience rights legislation in Alberta amounted to no more than thinly veiled attacks on access to legal health care services such as abortion, gender-affirming care, and Medical Assistance in Dying (MAID).”
The right to deny care on the basis of personal conscience objection is already extended to all regulated health professions, including doctors, pharmacists, registered nurses, nurse practitioners, midwives, social workers, and many others.
“The real issue Albertans face is the significant barriers to accessing the reproductive health care services they need, where and when they need them,” said Gallaway. “We need to do better. Abortion is health care, yet even though it has been decriminalized for decades, it remains inaccessible to far too many people here in Alberta, often because of geography and a lack of health care providers offering services.”
Friends of Medicare has launched a petition calling on provincial decision makers to act on protecting abortion rights and expanding access. Albertans are encouraged to stand up for reproductive health and rights by adding their voice here.
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