Abortion Access Barriers Part 2

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This is part 2 of a 2 part series.

On our last show about abortion access barriers in Canada, we provided listeners with an on the ground look by talking to non-profit organizations and activists to see how accessing abortion is still an issue in Canada. This week, we take a bit of a deeper look into these issues by addressing many of the systemic barriers preventing women from accessing abortion services, particularly at a government level. Our guests this week are Dr. Supriya Sharma from Health Canada, Karen Segal from the Women’s Legal Education Action Fund, and Kandace Hagen from the PEI Abortion Rights Network. Each guest breaks down the role policy plays in either helping or hindering abortion access across the country.

Karen Segal is counsel to LEAF. With a longstanding commitment to social justice and women’s equality, Karen has advocated for women’s rights in human rights tribunals and courts, in the areas of labour law, constitutional law, and human rights. She has also worked with community organizations seeking to end violence against women and advance the rights of marginalized workers. Her commitment to feminism, equality and race justice inform her work at LEAF.

Kandace Hagen, from PEI Abortion Rights Network, is an activist, writer, and perpetual student. Kandace Hagen had been active in the abortion movement in Prince Edward Island since the fall of 2010.


“Fighting for what you believe in and what is right does cause solid change.” – Kandace Hagen from PEI Abortion Rights Network.


Dr. Supriya Sharma assumed the responsibilities of Chief Medical Advisor to the Deputy Minister at Health Canada in August 2015.  She took on the role in addition to her responsibilities as Senior Medical Advisor within the Health Products and Food Branch, a position she’s held since March 2013. Prior to that, Dr. Sharma has held a number of positions in Health Canada over the past decade in both the pre-market and post-market health product regulatory areas including Acting Associate Assistant Deputy Minister of HPFB and prior to that Director General of the Therapeutic Products Directorate, which had the regulatory responsibility for pharmaceuticals (prescription and non-prescription) and medical devices. She has also worked as a Senior Policy Advisor as part of the National Pharmaceuticals Strategy in Health Canada. Recently, she has returned to Health Canada following a leave of absence to work in an academic research group focusing on health innovation adoption in the Canadian Health system.

Trained as a pediatrician in both Canada and Australia, Dr. Sharma was a research fellow in hematology focused on clinical research relating to thalassemia and sickle cell disease and has worked on a number of large multi-centre clinical studies, including research in collaboration with Oxford University on a project in Sri Lanka. She then went on to complete a Masters of Public Health at the Harvard School of Public Health with a concentration in International Health and an interest in Health Policy.

Kayla Ishkanian, Host
Majenta Braumberger, Technical Producer
Kevin Hempstead,
Technical Producer
Sanya Ramnauth, Lead Social Media Director
Leanna Mora, Executive Producer

Music Credits
Not Dead 
by Fine Times
Can’t Leave the Night
by Badbadnotgood
Quarry Hymns
by Land of Talk
7/4 Shoreline
by Broken Social Scene

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