March 4th, 2024

Abortion access focus of SACPA talk


By Steffanie Costigan - Lethbridge Herald Local Journalism Initiative Reporter on December 16, 2023.

Herald photo by Steffanie Costigan Chelsea Kwong of Pro-Choice YQL speaks on the topic of abortion at the Southern Alberta Council on Public Affairs (SACPA) on Thursday at noon.

Pro-Choice YQL spoke on the topic of abortion at the Southern Alberta Council on Public Affairs on Thursday at noon.

Pro-Choice YQL voiced its goal to empower individuals in Southern Alberta with knowledge and resources to “make informed choices about reproductive health.”

Member of the Pro-Choice YQL board Chelsea Kwong presented at SACPA. She shared a summary of her presentation for YQL Pro-Choice.

Her talk was to “kind of give some information on what people in southern Alberta know about access to sexual and reproductive health care. Talk about some misconceptions ,maybe that they might have and what pro-choice YQL is doing to kind of meet the needs of our community,” said Kwong.

Kwong added the organization advocates for supporting individuals’ access to the option of abortion.

“Being a support for people in our community who need to access the services or choose to access the services, being able to be supportive for that can be really helpful.”

This session of SACPA wasn’t as populated with spectators as usual. Kwong described the dedication Pro-Choice YQL has in their firm beliefs.

“We’re dedicated to advocating for access to safe and legal abortion services contraception, as well as comprehensive sexual education. Our vision is a future where reproductive justice is a reality for all we firmly believe that every person in southern Alberta deserves the reproductive care they require free from judgment, discrimination and stigma,” she said.

Kwong shared a survey Pro-Choice YQL put together with 100 responses. The statistics showed from that survey 80.9 per cent of people personally knew someone who has gotten an abortion – which amounts to nine in 10 people.

“That’s people who know someone who’s had an abortion, that’s not that they know someone who knows someone, but they actually know someone who has had an abortion. It is more common than we might think, because it’s something that we don’t talk about a lot.”

Kwong said about 40 per cent of people are unaware of health care options for abortion.

“That’s where Pro-Choice YQL comes in. When you contact them to be given really good information about where to go for health care options, whether you want a surgical abortion or medical abortion, you just want me to talk to you. Because about 40 per cent of people who responded to this didn’t know where to get that information,” said Kwong.

Kwong described the barriers women seeking for an abortion face within Lethbridge.

“The lack of doctors in the community taking patients, then willing to prescribe, and then the limited amount of pharmacies that will dispense the abortion pill.

“Your access gets smaller and smaller. First, you have to find a doctor. And you have to find one who’s going to prescribe it, then you’d find a pharmacy to go to. So, a lot of barriers face.”

In closing Kwong said there are options, and they are free from Alberta health care.

“We do have some options. And you don’t need to go through your doctor. So, you can self-refer to those that are able to access those services, again, free of charge.”

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