About the CFMSThe CFMS is an organization representing over 8,000 medical students from 15 Canadian medical student societies from coast to coast. We represent medical students to the public, to the federal government, and to national and international medical organizations.
The Canadian Federation of Medical Students (CFMS) is deeply disheartened by the decision made by the Supreme Court of the United States on June 24th in the case of Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization which overturns 50 years of entrenched reproductive rights. As stated by the World Health Organization, reproductive rights are human rights and are imperative to the autonomy of the bodies and lives of people who are able to get pregnant. Abortions are healthcare, and we will always advocate for universal access to healthcare. This is an area we have advocated for numerous times, most recently to the Federal and Provincial governments at the National Day of Action on Universal Access to Contraception this past May.
Students may be processing this information differently, and we encourage students who are in need of support to seek out friends and family. The Canadian Medical Association wellness line is available for medical learners and physicians who need to talk, and can connect students with both crisis counselors and more long term options. The relevant phone number for your province can be found here.
The CFMS firmly believes in reproductive choices for all patients, supported by accurate and comprehensive information from their healthcare team. We ask that undergraduate medical faculty update the objectives of their reproductive curricula for standardized inclusion of abortion education topics in didactic learning, exposure to medical and surgical abortion in the clinical setting, and abortion counselling and advocacy as called for in our position paper on abortion teaching in medical schools. The current standard wherein students receive vastly variable exposure to abortion education based on their own initiative to seek out this material can no longer continue. When we learn it, we can provide it - and we improve everyone’s access to this medical procedure.
For those interested in learning more, the College of Family Physicians of Canada provides several resources on providing abortion here.
In addition, we are disappointed about the challenges this creates in opportunities for our students considering US training experiences. We ask that our training programs remember that students who can get pregnant may now approach US career opportunities with apprehension given fear for their reproductive choices and that programs adjust their career advice appropriately. At its core, this equity issue is wide reaching, affecting both trainees and patients. Our patients rely on the breadth of our training which is frequently supplemented by US programs and faculty. Without equitable access to this training our patients will suffer.
We recognize that people in our own student body have themselves undergone, and even more have benefited from abortions. We stand with our patients and with our students, and will continue to advocate for reproductive choice and for students to learn and be able to provide this choice.
Your CFMS Board of Directors