Friday Focus: Standing up for Reproductive Rights

The Friday Focus is a weekly blog post from Interim Leader John Roggeveen. It covers some of the pressing political issues of the week.

Abortion: It’s a Right 

It is beyond belief that in 2022, we are still discussing a woman’s right to choose. And not just because of what is happening in the United States right now. Even though abortion is legal in Canada, accessing the medical procedure is still too difficult and stigmatizing for many women. This is particularly true for women in rural areas who are isolated from both the abortion clinics and support networks found in our major cities. 

In spite of this, the UCP is failing to improve access to services. The Alberta government can and should do more to ensure this procedure is accessible to all who choose it, including: 

  • Making abortion by a medication more readily available. 
  • Sponsoring a public awareness campaign to destigmatize abortion and present it as a legitimate medical procedure. 
  • Improving the school sex education curriculum. 
  • Funding support networks for women considering or pursuing an abortion. 
  • Establishing programs to help women in remote and rural areas access the procedure. 
  • Providing free birth control as an essential component of women's reproductive health.

The Backtrail to Deregulation

The UCP just can’t seem to leave Alberta’s parks alone. Hidden in omnibus Bill 21 are changes ostensibly designed to give regional park managers more flexibility. However, environmental groups have called out the bill for creating sweeping new powers that are much broader than that. 

I wish I could give the government the benefit of the doubt on this, but with their awful track record on parks, the eastern slopes, and the environment in general, Albertans simply can’t trust the UCP to use these powers responsibly. I fear this is inevitably going to be environmental deregulation by stealth.

Safe Supply vs Unsafe Agenda 

Last year saw the highest number of lethal drug overdoses in Alberta’s history. Which makes recent news about the UCP’s botched report on safe drug supply all the more egregious. The report in question is under fire from addictions experts and scientists for being deeply flawed and error-ridden. This is a life-and-death issue. We need a government that listens to evidence, not one that makes it up.