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Addressing Barriers to Abortion Care After 12 Weeks Gestation Through Medical Education

Endoresed in:

February 2024

Paper Type:

Position Paper

Authors:

  • Nicole Smith (University of Toronto)
  • Megan Werger (University of Toronto)
  • Neha Shah (University of Toronto)
  • Eden Har-Gil (University of Toronto)
  • Nichole Sanchez Diaz (University of Toronto)
  • Stesi Kambo (University of Toronto)

Background:

Abortion is a medically necessary healthcare procedure that has been legal and a Charter-protected right in Canada since the 1988 Morgentaler case. While the majority of abortions occur in the first trimester of pregnancy (0-12 weeks gestation), Canadians who need to access abortion services after the first trimester face significant barriers. Data from the Canadian Institute for Health Information reported that 10-15% of total abortions occur after the first trimester. Action Canada for Sexual Health and Rights has reported a sharp increase in people seeking abortion care beyond the first trimester in 2022. Despite abortion being a medically necessary and commonly sought-after procedure, Canadian medical education lags behind in providing well-rounded and adequate abortion training, especially past the first trimester.

Recommendations:

  • The authors will collaborate with the CFMS as they have a passed position paper regarding abortion education in medical schools with recommendations and action in progress.
  • The authors should advocate directly to school administrations to increase the curricular objectives related to abortion care after the first trimester.
  • The OMSA can consider collaborating with abortion advocacy groups, such as the Canadian National Abortion Federation to lobby within government systems for increased financial assistance programs and protection of current funding.
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