Abortions more accessible with new app from SHORE
SHORE Centre executive director says current referral process is 'needlessly time-consuming'
People seeking abortions can receive private referrals through an online app launched by the Sexual Health Options Resources and Education (SHORE) Centure in Kitchener, available starting Wednesday.
Choice Connect, an online app built by a local tech company called Zeitspace, allows people to insert information about their pregnancy on SHORE's website and the types of abortion they are seeking. The app then provides a referral automatically and instantly, based upon the information the client has provided.
Lyndsey Butcher, the executive director of SHORE, said the current referral process is "needlessly time-consuming" for women and trans people.
"It's frustrating and for many people it can be humiliating," she said.
A pro bono project
Mark Connolly, a partner at Zeitspace, told CBC News he was first approached to design the app this summer. His company volunteered to create a prototype with the hopes the project would receive more funding.
After discovering that wasn't the case, they offered to create the entire app for free.
"This is the type of thing we do all the time... it's a pretty straightforward process, but the thing that makes it interesting is the impact it would have," said Connolly. "We understand how long and arduous it can be to get a referral in the healthcare system. It may take two to three weeks."
Aside from the long referral process, Butcher said women who seek abortion face judgment and shame when they talk about it, and sometimes they're not provided with the information they need.
"In some cases they've been redirected or flatly denied the very services they were requesting."
Butcher said the app will allow clients to access abortion care privately without having to deal with the associated stigma, and hopes the it will be used in communities across Canada.
- An earlier version of this story indicated staff from SHORE use the information clients provide in the app to refer them. In fact, the app provides an instant referral.Nov 23, 2017 9:16 AM ET
With files from Kate Bueckert