The Liberal government says it is giving $3.5 million for two projects to help improve access to abortion services in Canada.
The funding stems from a year-old budget pledge 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, plain and simple,” said Health Minister Jean-Yves Duclos at a press conference.
“The situation now ongoing in the United States does remind us that we cannot take our rights for granted.”
The funding comes as the U.S. Supreme Court’s expected reversal of the landmark Roe v. Wade case brings renewed attention to abortion access on both sides of the border, and the day before the annual anti-abortion “March for Life” demonstration on Parliament Hill.
Action Canada for Sexual Health and Rights will use the federal money to expand programs that provide accurate information about sexual and reproductive health and referrals, as well as help cover women’s travel and accommodation costs.
The National Abortion Federation will use funding to give women seeking abortion services financial and logistical help, as well as train health-care providers in providing those services.
“What is the point of having a right to something that is impossible to access?” said Frederique Chabot, director of health promotion for Action Canada at the press conference.
“Making sure abortion is accessible to everyone is the conversation that matters.”
The 2021 budget projected $16 million would already be allocated from the new funding by now, and advocates say 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 these two announced for the first time Wednesday that involve access to abortion.
There are another five projects involving LGBTQ communities and two addressing youth.