On Sept. 6, 2023, the SHORE Centre announced that T.K. Pritchard would be leaving their role as executive director to join the National Abortion Federation of Canada (NAF Canada) as their executive director on Oct. 30, 2023. Pritchard has been the Executive Director of the SHORE Centre since July 2020. Pritchard will stay as an advisor until December to help SHORE Centre with the transition.
NAF Canada is based in Vancouver, BC and promotes reproductive health across Canada by working to ensure abortion care is accessible and carried out to the highest standards. Pritchard said it was a difficult decision to leave SHORE Centre, but the position with NAF Canada is an opportunity they could not turn down.
“The position at the National Abortion Federation of Canada is an opportunity to continue the work that I have been able to do and look at improving access to abortion and advocating abortion on a national level. It is a decision that took me a long time to make because SHORE has a special place in my heart,” they said.
While SHORE Centre’s mission covers various sexual and reproductive health issues, Pritchard said they will now focus on advancing abortion access and advocacy. NAF Canada collaborates with partners across Canada who work to improve reproductive rights for all Canadians. This includes support for organizations who assist with travel to access abortion services, improving abortion services for trans people and ensuring migrant workers and refugees have access to abortion services.
“These are all things that I’m deeply passionate about, and I’m excited to see how I can be part of moving that work forward,” Pritchard said.
In 2022, Pritchard worked with Zeitspace, a local design and development shop, to launch Choice Connect. The website helps Canadians look for abortion information and find a provider for medical or surgical abortions if needed.
They Pritchard said that access to abortion services is not available to many people across the country for a variety of reasons, from a lack of providers to inequity in services for trans people and people living with disabilities. According to the NAF Canada partner Abortion Rights Collation of Canada, fewer than one in five Canadian hospitals provides abortion services.
“Abortion is one of those areas that is not often spoken of by many people. That leaves a lot of room for misinformation and misunderstanding of what abortion actually looks like. When you see how it impacts people daily, it is not only the access piece, there is also a significant stigma still around abortion access and we have this deep need to normalize it as healthcare,” they said.
Pritchard said their role as executive director of NAF Canada is focused on reducing the stigmas around abortion and increasing access. This includes raising awareness and access to medical abortions.
“NAF Canada has training modules for people who want to become medical abortion providers. It is part of the access piece being done to increase the number of providers and help folks who have barriers, whether they are geographic or financial, accessing abortion,” Pritchard said.
Improving access to abortion is only part of ensuring people can access reproductive health care when needed. Pritchard added that everyone who supports abortion access has a part to play in reducing the stigma around abortion.
“The folks who are against abortion access tend to be very loud and relatively well organized, while those who support abortion are often too busy doing the work to push back constantly. It is really that more people talk about it,” they said.
Pritchard added that there are many ways for people to take action. They recommended asking your family physician or healthcare team if they provide medical abortions, and if not, asking why. They also suggested asking candidates who come to your home while canvassing during elections about their stance on abortion and reproductive rights.
“There are all of these moments where you have some power to ask a question or push back or find out more—those pieces add up, and they help to normalize this discussion. We need to normalize abortion as healthcare. The more we can collectively say that, the more we have the power to push back and make it happen,” Pritchard said.
Learn more about the National Abortion Federation of Canada at nafcanada.org.
Alex Kinsella is a freelance content marketer and writer based in Waterloo Region, Ontario. He's behind the TL;WR newsletter–Waterloo Region's weekly events newsletter. He's worked with some of Canada's most well known tech companies in roles including customer success, development, product management, PR, social media and marketing. Alex has contributed to publications including BetaKit, Grand Magazine and more.