Title and statement of responsibility area
Pro-Choice Action Network fonds
General material designation
- Multiple media
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Title statements of responsibility
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Edition statement of responsibility
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Statement of scale (cartographic)
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Statement of scale (architectural)
Issuing jurisdiction and denomination (philatelic)
Dates of creation area
1970-2012, predominant 1987-2009 (Creation)
- Pro-Choice Action Network
Physical description area
3.05m of textual records and other materials
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Title proper of publisher's series
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Archival description area
Name of creator
The Pro-Choice Action Network (Pro-CAN) was formed in 1987 under the name B.C. Coalition for Abortion Clinics (BCCAC) with the mission of securing safe, fully-funded, high-quality abortion services for women. With the support of the labour movement, women’s health groups, student groups, the United Church, and health care professionals, BCCAC opened Everywoman’s Health Centre in November 1988. Although it was illegal for freestanding clinics to offer abortion services at that time, the centre remained open and continues to function today as an abortion and sexual health clinic in Vancouver, B.C.
After establishing the Everywoman’s Health Centre, BCCAC broadened their mandate to begin lobbying and advocating for: full government funding of reproductive health services, including surgical and medical abortion services; the defeat of all laws that criminalize abortion or impede women’s rights or access to choice; enforcement and protection of the Access to Abortion Services Act; provision for universal and federally-guaranteed access to abortion in all regions of Canada; the availability of safe, affordable, and effective contraception; and comprehensive sex education in schools.
In 1995, the Coalition began publishing their quarterly newsletter, The Pro-Choice Press, as a way to further its aims and reach the public. A few years later, in 1998, its name was officially changed to Pro-Choice Action Network. Despite the name change, the group continued to build a broad-based political movement and advocate for public education on women’s right to choice. It also established mutually productive relationships with clinics, hospitals, health care professionals, pro-choice groups, women’s groups, and various local, provincial, and national governmental agencies.
Around the same time in the late 1990s, Pro-CAN found itself increasingly focused on national issues. After the Canadian Abortion Rights Action League (CARAL) disbanded in 2004, the Board realized a new national group was needed to replace its efforts. The need was filled when Joyce Arthur of Pro-CAN led the formation of a new national group known as the Abortion Rights Coalition of Canada (ARCC-CDAC). As the years went on, the Network found itself becoming relatively inactive due to a lack of need for a provincial pro-choice group in British Columbia. As such, Pro-CAN made the decision to close its doors in January 2009 with the assurance that ARCC would take up the mantle on provincial issues as needed.
Materials were created and assembled by Pro-CAN during its active years of 1987-2009. Following its closure, the materials were retained by Joyce Arthur, one of its members and directors. Joyce then donated the items to UBC in 2019, with the exception of those records she is still actively using.
Scope and content
Fonds consists of minutes and agendas, correspondence, publications, reports, photographs, pamphlets, scrapbooks, newspaper clippings, artifacts, and other textual records related to Pro-CAN’s mission of: improving abortion access for women; defending their legal rights; protecting providers and clinics from harassment and violence; destigmatizing abortion; and educating the public about reproductive rights. The records include those necessary to fulfill its functions of managing and administrating the organization, advocating and lobbying, and ensuring safety and security, as well as those used as resources. Resources and subject files span the topics of abortion history in Canada and abroad, legal matters, grey literature, information about similar external organizations, and related topics in the news. Pro-CAN also kept extensive files on anti-choice groups and individuals along with their behaviors, photographs, and letters.
Immediate source of acquisition
Donated by Joyce Arthur on July 8th, 2019
Language of material
Script of material
Language and script note
Most materials are in English, with a few exceptions that are in French.
Location of originals
Availability of other formats
Restrictions on access
Access to the following files is restricted until January 1st, 2030: RBSC-ARC-1816-04-11 and RBSC-ARC-1816-15-10.
Terms governing use, reproduction, and publication
Generated finding aid
Possible accruals are expected, consisting of the material Joyce Arthur has kept and is still using.
Most series and subseries titles have been supplied. Most file titles are provided by the creator.
Includes the following photographs: RBSC-ARC-1816-PH-01 to 59.
3.05m of textual records; 51 small color photographs; 4 medium sheets of photo paper containing color photographs; 3 medium b&w photographs; 1 small b&w photograph; and 5 artifacts.
Standard number area
Place access points
Name access points
- B.C. Coalition for Abortion Clinics (Subject)
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Dates of creation, revision and deletion
Finding aid created by Natalie Trapuzzano, November 2019