North

Ottawa researchers to study abortion issues in Yukon, Nunavut

Researchers from the University of Ottawa are looking for women in the Yukon and Nunavut to complete a study about their experience obtaining an abortion.

Access, confidentiality likely among concerns, observers say

The Whitehorse General Hospital is the only site in Yukon where women can get an abortion.

Researchers from the University of Ottawa are looking for women in the Yukon and Nunavut to complete a study about their experience obtaining an abortion.

They want to talk to people who have had an abortion in the past 10 years. The goal is to document women's experiences obtaining the procedure and get input on how those services could be improved.

Jennifer Cano is managing the abortion study in the territories for the University of Ottawa. She hopes to hear from people in both rural and urban communities.

"We're trying to get a range of participants so we're going to see if the experiences do vary because I know there's more medical travel with populations in the territories," she said.

Concerns about confidentiality, travelling from rural areas

They are likely to hear of several challenges says, Taryn Turner. Last year she completed a master's thesis on reproductive health in the Yukon.

"There are certain things here that are still different [from] elsewhere. You still have to get your abortion done in a hospital," she said. That can take longer than at a clinic because of procedure and operating time, Turner added.

She said rural women also have concerns around confidentiality .

The University of Ottawa researchers are likely to hear similar concerns, said NDP health critic Jan Stick. She said women in outlying Yukon communities must sometimes take more than one trip to Whitehorse for abortions and ultrasounds.

"It has happened in the past, abortions will be bumped for emergency surgeries, because it has to be done in a surgical unit at the hospital," Stick said.

The Ottawa researchers will use the information gathered from Northern women as part of a broader national study.

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