Edmonton's Association for Safe Alternatives in Childbirth was formed in 1979 as a consumer group concerned with choices in childbirth. Initiated by family physician, Dr. Ben Toane, the establishment meeting drew close to one hundred people. ASAC was formed as a local chapter of NAPSAC (National Association of Parents and Professionals for Safe Alternatives in Childbrith) in Edmonton.
Dr. Toane attended home births with midwives Sandy Pullin and Noreen Walker until the end of 1980. At this time, the College of Physicians and Surgeons passed a ruling forbidding physicians to attend home births unless they had active hospital privileges. Dr. Toane had lost his hospital privileges because of his involvement in the home birth movement, and was thus prevented from further professional involvement. He continued to support the midwives and ASAC, believing that parents have the right to birth in the manner that best suits their family.
The midwifery movement in Alberta has always been strongly supported by ASAC and its members. Lobbying the political parties over the years has resulted in recognition and legal rights for our midwives. Midwifery was officially recognized as a profession in Alberta in July of 1992 with the passage of the Health Professionals Amendment Act. By July of 1996, midwives were legally registered in Alberta. On April 1st, 2009, midwifery care became publicly funded, covering home births as well as midwife-attended hospital births.
As we enter our 36th year of birthing support in Edmonton and area, ASAC continues to be a strong organization, committed to parents in the community who are seeking support for their birthing and parenting choices.