Photo by: Brenden Cowan
Although abortions have been deemed legal in Canada for some time now, the existence of anti-choice clinics remains prevalent both around the country and in the Niagara Region and it’s important that individuals become aware of where these deceptive clinics are located.
In the wake of the overturning of Roe v. Wade back in June 2022, many U.S. states have consequently banned the rights for individuals to have an abortion. As of October, a sum of 17 states have moved to ban or restrict abortion and a minimum of 26 red states are expected to either ban or make it incredibly difficult to receive an abortion.
On the other side of the border, Canadians are able to access abortion legally at any and all stages of pregnancy, the only caveat being that it’s incredibly rare for Canadian clinics to perform late-term (21+ weeks) abortions at their own discretion. However, due to the country’s sober regard towards abortion as a common medical procedure, terminating a pregnancy should remain a safe and comfortable operation in Canada.
In reality, that’s not always the case.
Despite the legality of abortions in Canada, many struggle to access such procedures, with many people living in rural areas with limited access to abortion facilities. Additionally, only one in six hospitals in Canada provide abortion care, further limiting access.
Despite these obstacles, one of the most prominent obstructions stopping many from obtaining the procedures they may need is the existence of anti-choice and anti-abortion facilities, which are prevalent all around Canada, including the Niagara Region.
Anti-choice facilities are also commonly referred to as crisis pregnancy centres (CPCs). According to Niagara Reproductive Justice, CPCs present themselves as unbiased pregnancy option centres, when in reality they are religiously-funded anti-abortion agencies, conveying false information in hopes of preventing individuals from accessing abortions and other reproductive healthcare that they have a right to receive.
In addition to offering information about CPCs, Niagara Reproductive Justice also monitors local anti-abortion clinics in and around Niagara in order to prevent individuals needing proper healthcare from visiting such detrimental facilities. Thus far, they have identified six different CPCs in the Niagara Region and hundreds throughout Canada.
One example of a local CPC that attempts to prevent individuals from accessing abortions is Clarity Pregnancy Options, previously known as Elisha House. This facility possesses two locations in the Niagara Region, one being on 48 Burgar Street in Welland and the other on 226 Merritt Street in St. Catharines.
In a recent Instagram post made by Niagara Reproductive Justice, the account informs its followers of the anti-choice location, while urging followers to spread the word in letting locals know to avoid such locations.
In a separate post, Niagara Reproductive Justice calls attention to Clarity Pregnancy’s deceptive traits:
“If a client visits Clarity Pregnancy Options, they will be subjected to inaccurate information about fetal development intentionally designed to make somebody feel guilt or shame for considering abortion,” said the community in their post.
Instead of aiding individuals in accessing the healthcare options they are authorized to have, Clarity Pregnancy Options attempts to target those seeking abortions. They work to exaggerate the risks accompanied with the procedure, while not making mention of the positive effects which can come along with the procedure, such as the beneficial impact it may have on one’s mental health, physical health, and financial circumstances.
In a blog post titled “What can I expect at my Clarity Pregnancy Options Appointment,” the CPC states that upon arrival, individuals must sign their confidentiality policy and abortion disclaimer to let visitors know that Clarity Pregnancy Options does not provide or refer abortions.
Individuals can also access the “Let’s Chat” section of the CPCs website, located at the bottom right corner of the main page, where visitors can directly correspond with one of the working staff. When asked about the information the facility can provide in reference to abortions, Clarity Pregnancy Options’ representatives simply inform individuals that they are available to fully explain the different types of risks associated with abortions.
Through Niagara Reproductive Justice’s information regarding Clarity Pregnancy Options, as well as through a quick look at the CPC’s website, it is evident that the clinic demonstrates a distaste towards abortion procedures, making the information they provide their visitors with destructive to say the least.
Clarity Pregnancy Options is just one of the many CPCs located in and around Niagara. Through groups such as Niagara Reproductive Justice, individuals are able to be made more aware of the harmful anti-choice clinics near them and are thus able to recognize the facilities that should always be avoided.
For information on other local CPCs, or information regarding medically accurate and non-judgemental pregnancy options, please visit Niagara Reproductive Justice’s website or visit a Niagara Region Sexual Health Centre.