SHORE informs students on issues surrounding reproductive health

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Photo by Nathalie Bouchard

On Jan. 23 in the Bricker Academic Building, the Centre for Women and Trans People hosted an event in collaboration with Sexual Health Options Resources & Education Centre called Abortion Facts with SHORE.

The aim of the event was to debunk many of the myths, misconceptions and misinformation students may have been receiving about abortion. This event used inclusive language with a strong emphasis on making no assumptions of anyone’s gender, sexuality or identity.

The event was hosted by the Sexual Health Options Resources & Education Centre by Stacey Jacobs, the Sexual Health Education Manager.

Jacobs has over 15 year’s experience in the field of sexual health education. SHORE supports their clients with the decisions they make about their pregnancy, whether that be abortion, adoption or parenting, and provides their clients with the information and referrals they need as indicated on their website.

In the presentation Jacobs explains that the laws around the world vary with their rules and regulations surrounding abortion. In Canada, the laws around abortion are slightly different than many other countries around the world.

“In 1988 the Supreme Court of Canada struck down Canada’s abortion law, ruling it unconstitutional because it violated Canada’s Charter of Rights and Freedoms by infringing on a woman’s right to life, liberty and security of the person,” Jacobs said in her presentation.

“In Canada abortions are regulated by the Canadian Medical Association. Some people will have us think that abortions are not regulated because there are no criminal laws and that an abortion can happen at any point in a pregnancy, in Canada a person can have an abortion up to 24 weeks of pregnancy.”

In the presentation Jacobs also touched on the actual abortion procedure itself, citing the reality of an abortion procedure as very different then the stigmatizing conversations and myths about the procedure.

“An actual first trimester abortion is a very simply procedure, it takes approximately ten minutes to perform.”

“Under proper medical conditions an abortion is a very safe procedure, especially in the early stages of pregnancy, 97 per cent of people who have a first trimester abortion have absolutely no complications, some of these complications include an infection where you can take antibiotics,” Jacobs said.

Jacobs also explained another common myth which people are led to believe, her experience of working at SHORE has led her to come across these myths.

Ultimately, the event went as planned according to Alicia Hall, Coordinator of the Centre for Women and Trans People. The purpose of the event was to ensure that students could receive sexual health education from all angles.

“Post Abortion Stress Syndrome (PASS) is not recognized by the American Psychological Association. The emotional response after an abortion is different for each individual because the circumstances of each individual considering an abortion are different,” Jacobs said.

“There is no association with breast cancer and abortion, The Canadian Breast Cancer society has this [information] on their website, again we are made to believe that this is not the case,” Jacobs said.

Talking about Abortion education and facts on University campus is important to ensure that all students are educated about their options and are informed about all options in their sexual health education.

“It’s important to talk about abortion because you want to make sure that everyone has the proper information … and that they know that abortions are accessible in this region because a lot of people don’t relay that,” Jacobs said.

Some of the most important facts about abortion that university students should be aware of is about the new abortion pill and about accessibility of abortions in Ontario as well as in the region.

“That abortions are accessible and available in the region, that you can use the abortion pill up to nine weeks of pregnancy and you can get an abortion in Ontario up to 24 weeks of pregnancy, that they should and can call the SHORE centre, if they have questions and need information, if they want support around abortion,” Jacobs said.

“And it’s their choice and their choice alone,” Maggie Hamel-Smith Grassby, Youth Sexual Health Educator said.

“We’re trying to help providers, become comfortable to provide the abortion pill themselves, and that would be all health care providers in waterloo region now but working that into all of Ontario,” Jacobs said.

Ultimately, the event went as planned according to Alicia Hall, Coordinator of the Centre for Women and Trans People. The purpose of the event was to ensure that students could receive sexual health education from all angles.

“I think what’s important … I am having considerate conversation[s] with people around this [topic of abortion] and letting people know that you will support them, letting people know that they are not alone, letting people know that sexual health education is important; that all education around sexual health is important,” Hall said.

“We need to talk about it more and that [way] people become more comfortable, less stigmatized and we’re all healthier and better off.”

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