June 28, 2023 –Winnipeg, MB – One year ago, Roe v. Wade was overturned in the United States, prompting many questions from Canadian abortion providers. Upon this anniversary, WHC has reflected that not much has changed in Canada. There is an urgent need for increased access to abortion care, and to provide it, WHC needs more funding.

Our wait lists are long, staff are burnt out, and clients are frightened. Expected to step up to meet the needs of community with inadequate supports, WHC needs support to provide access to an essential, time–sensitive healthcare service.

WHC receives enough funding for 1600 procedures per year. Every year over the past five years,we have provided between 1900–2200 abortions per year while only being funded for to perform 1600*. Last year alone, we had toturn away an additional 500 clients who sought our services*.WHC is one of two sites in Winnipeg where folks can receive an aspiration (in–clinic procedure) abortion, and the only facility that operates as a community clinic.

“WHC was created specifically to meet the needs of community, and what we require is adequate funding to ensure we can meet the existing need and ensure adequate staffing,” says Kemlin Nembhard, WHC Executive Director. “WHC’s approach to care has made us a trusted service provider tothousands of people in Manitoba and beyond since we opened our doors in 1981. We need more funding to continue to offer vital reproductive health care.”

WHC’s community clinic setting and approach (non–judgmental, empathetic, supportive care in a non–institutionalized setting) allows for a more personalized experience, establishing us as a trusted medical clinic. For many people seeking abortion care, the community clinic approach is the preferred option when seeking abortion services over hospital settings. Providing community–based abortion services benefits everyone. It’s a more efficient and cost–effective way to provide care versus a hospital setting.*

WHC has worked tirelessly to support essential services during the pandemic, undertaking a number of strategies over the last few years to address the growing demands for abortion care. However, our ability to respond and meet client needs has reached its limit. Community needs far outstrip the available resources, which has only been exacerbated by the pandemic. As such, we are unable to manage the current demand for services and workload.

“Increasing funding means we are able to maintain the excellent standard of care WHC has established over the past 40 years. It means we can provide additional supportsto our community throughout our other six programs using the money that otherwise pays for the surplus of procedures we perform every year, and our staff will be able to do their jobs without burning out,” says Nembhard.