Anti-abortion activists are once again upset after the federal government announced last week that the Department of Foreign Affairs has funded the “morning after pill,” also known as Plan B, to give out in their maternal health program in Afghanistan.

The contraceptive was given out as part of a program which began in 2010 under PM Harper. The pill recently made the news for the announcement that the current federal government would also seek to add an additional 3.5 billion dollars of funding over the next five years to improve maternal health across the developing world.

One part of this program – a very, very small part of it – is focused on family planning, in which funding for Plan B is included. The drug, which is available over the counter (though access to it varies province to province) has been distributed by the Afghan Family Guidance Association, which is partnered with the international branch of Planned Parenthood and the Canadian government.

The anger over Plan B appears to be in the way the drug operates. It actually does nothing to end pregnancy, only preventing the fertilized egg from being able to stick to the uterine wall, as well as delaying the fertilization of the egg and temporarily stopping the release of an egg from the ovary.

Why is important that the federal government actually stands by their decision to fund Plan B, not only in Afghanistan but all other countries that receive funding for maternal health? Essentially one of the most fundamental elements of maternal health is the decision of whether or not to have a child. Funding this contraceptive – as it is a contraceptive, not a drug that causes abortion – is just one part of maternal health and this should continued to be respected by this government.

By listening to anti-abortion “activists” the Conservative government will be denying women around the globe options to access resources for family planning and maternal health. If this money is going toward family planning and maternal health, than it should be funded, since decided not to have a child is a huge part of family planning, as well as an important component in the health of the mother.

Another thing to point out is the fact that a very small amount of the money that the Conservative government has gifted for maternal health is for family planning – only 0.55 per cent, according to the International Planned Parenthood Federation (IPPF). The Federation is even calling on the government to continue to show more commitment to the issue of family planning, stating that over 222 million women around the globe lack access to a range of modern contraceptive options.

Recently the IPPF, along with a number of civil society groups from around the world, came together to address the Harper government, calling on them to recognize the role that family planning has in the health of women and children. The federal government should listen to these civil society groups and continue to fund Plan B, along with other forms of contraceptives and family planning options and not be afraid of the backlash from anti-abortion activists, if they are as committed to maternal health as they claim they are.

Media attention to abortion in Canada ebbs and flows, and has recently been in the spotlight yet again since the impending closure of the Morgentaler clinic in New Brunswick. The clinic is the only private clinic on the island and it’s closure ultimately speaks to the broader creation of barriers for women to find accessible options.

The closure, which will officially happen at the end of July, comes after years of legal battles between the clinic and the province over provincial funding for the clinic. The clinic cannot continue to operate without provincial funding. New Brunswick is the only province in Canada where private clinic abortions are not funded by provincial medicare.

Such a closure should bring home the fact that access to abortion rights in Canada are not accessible to all, and that it varies – at times massively – from province to province. The access those seeking abortion have, in the case of New Brunswick, can sometimes take the form of no choice at all. Even more shocking, the Morgentaler clinic in Fredericton is the only private abortion clinic east of Montreal.

Last week Justin Trudeau came out in favour of pro-choice, stating that in order to run in the Liberal caucus, a member must be pro-choice, or at least, vote pro-choice. The statement has garnered criticism from both external and internal sources. Not surprisingly, an Archbishop in Toronto has called on Trudeau to rethink his decision on the stance, and just yesterday a recording of Liberal MP John McKay criticizing Trudeau’s choice to issue such a stance was obtained by CTV News. In this incident, McKay called the subject “toxic” and questioned Trudeau’s decision to take such a stance.

Despite these criticisms, the fact that Trudeau is setting a party line on abortion is good to hear. Trudeau’s stance may meet party criticism, but it is a welcome reassurance for those in Canada who care deeply about the guarantee of rights for those looking for abortions. The stance also speaks to the fact that there could be a time when the debate is reopened at a federal level. It provides comfort for Liberal voters who are pro-choice that their MP will vote in a similar fashion.

However, recent media attention around Trudeau’s stance could be best shifted toward the closure of the Morgentaler clinic in New Brunswick. While it is perhaps a step to know that Trudeau is aware of the debate re-opening in Parliament, what are the major political parties doing to actively ensure that abortion rights are met in provinces across Canada

Efforts to rally around the Morgentaler clinic have mostly been grassroot, with the hashtag #NBprochoice becoming popular across Twitter, and pro-choice rallies for #NBprochoice happening across the country in the last month. According to the #NBprochoice campaign, there has been no reaction from the New Brunswick government, despite it being nearly two months since the clinic closed.

While it’s good to hear that politicians are aware that abortion rights in Canada are still being threatened, it would be much more comforting to see real action being taken to an urgent issue at hand. In order for federal parties to call themselves “pro-choice” they should be taking more action to actively ensure these rights are upheld – including pushing for provincial funding for the Morgentaler Clinic. Being pro-choice is not just something that matters in the 2015 election season, and not just in a House of Commons debate. It matters on the ground and beyond election season, each time a woman seeks abortion and is denied for lack of simple access.