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Statement on International Safe Abortion Day

Honourable senators, I address you on behalf of the Canadian Association of Parliamentarians for Population Development, or CAPPD — a multi-party group of parliamentarians committed to advancing sexual and reproductive health and rights for all — of which I am a proud member.

Today, on International Safe Abortion Day, this group recognizes the tireless efforts of health care providers and community organizations, across Canada and around the world, who work to support access to safe and dignified abortion care. Globally, a staggering 45% of abortions are unsafe. Unsafe abortion is a leading cause of maternal death globally and hospitalizes millions of women every year.

While abortion care is about providing essential health care, it’s also about the right to control one’s own body. The United States Supreme Court’s decision to repeal Roe v. Wade is the culmination of decades of attacks on abortion rights, led and funded by anti-human rights groups. These actors are organizing against the rights of women.

We need to organize in support of human rights and equality. CAPPD welcomes the 2022 World Health Organization’s Abortion care guideline that recommends the full decriminalization of abortion and universal access to abortion and self-management options. Canada must continue the important work of increasing access to abortion care in our country, as well as continue to champion this work globally.

As a group of parliamentarians, CAPPD is committed to advancing work that would help close gaps in accessing safe abortion care in Canada and around the world and support the fundamental right to bodily autonomy for everyone. It welcomes others joining us in our collective work in this area.

Canada has a strong history of commitment to sexual and reproductive health rights, both domestically and internationally, with a series of investments in recent years. This commitment should make us all very proud. We must continue to safeguard access to sexual and reproductive health services and ensure that we continue to work hard to end preventable death and illness from unsafe abortion worldwide.