Social issues amid COVID crisis cause abortion rate in Canada to rise
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January 13, 2021 (LifeSiteNews) — Pro-life outreach organizations such as the Canadian Centre for Bio-Ethical Reform (where I serve as communications director) have been concerned since last March that the COVID-19 pandemic, due to the economic conditions created by the government response, could be triggering a spike in the abortion rate. Women frequently choose abortion when they feel fiscally trapped, and the number of people feeling the pinch as the pandemic stretches into 2021 is growing.
Canadian media outlets are now confirming our fears, with abortion activists and workers indicating that they believe the abortion rate is rising. According to Winnipeg City News, the National Abortion Federation (NAF), an organization dedicated to helping women procure abortions, revealed that it got four times as many calls in Canada in 2020 compared to 2019. In 2020, the NAF received 110 calls — the year before, it had been merely 30.
These numbers aren’t a great sample size, but as City News noted, they “reflect a host of social issues like job insecurity, anxiety levels, potential health impacts and socioeconomic status.” With so many careers threatened, businesses at risk, and jobs disappearing, many feel that it is a bad time to have a child. Additionally, many fear going to the hospital; it is also difficult for partners to be part of the process due to COVID-19 health restrictions.
According to NAF director Jill Doctoroff, many of those calling her organization are non-citizens living in Canada who found themselves unable to fly home (or were concerned they could not return if they did), as well as students and those still working through the immigration process. Angela MacDougall of the Battered Women Society also told City News that she has observed a rise in requests for abortion information, and indicated that social isolation is a contributing factor.
Of course, the primary concern of Canada’s abortion activists is that there are too few abortions, not too many. Several have indicated to the media that “access to abortion” is difficult during the pandemic and urged the government to respond. The Canadian Civil Liberties Association is currently suing the government of New Brunswick over its refusal to use taxpayer funds to float an abortion clinic in Fredericton, claiming that limited access to abortion in the province constituted a violation of the Canada Health Act as well as the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.
In the meantime, Canadian pro-life organizations are still faithfully doing outreach, conforming activism to health restrictions and reaching Canadians wherever we can. The Canadian Centre for Bio-Ethical Reform still attained a reach of over four million views of abortion victim photography and facilitated thousands of conversations in 2020, and other organisations — especially crisis pregnancy centres such as Aid to Women in Toronto and the Back Porch in Edmonton — have been finding creative ways to reach women during these bizarre times we live in. After all, the government may have announced a state of emergency recently.
Pro-lifers know that children in the womb face a state of emergency every day in Canada.