Edmonton’s Association for Safe Alternatives in Childbirth (ASAC) was formed in 1979 as a consumer group concerned with choices in childbirth. Initiated by family physician, Dr. Ben Toane, the first meeting grew close to one hundred people.
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.
Now in our 40th 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.
1) ASAC educates parents about pregnancy, birth and parenting.
- Publishes Birth Issues magazine (current options in pregnancy, birth and parenting)
- Extensive library of books, periodicals and DVD’s
- Wealthy resource of information on midwifery, doulas, VBAC
- Free lecture series
- Guest speaker special events
- Fact Sheets
- Outreach to general public at Mom Pop & Tot Fair, Women’s Shows, Baby fairs
2) ASAC creates community and support for new families
- Weekly playgroup
- Monthly meetings
- Birth movie screenings
- Support other local birthing groups such as Doula Association of Edmonton, Edmonton VBAC Support Association and Alberta Association of Midwives
3) ASAC is working to improve access to Midwives in Alberta
- Lobby for midwifery education
- Lobby for increased access in underserved areas
- Political action – rallies, letter writing campaign
4) ASAC improves birthing conditions for local families
- Donating birth stools to Lois Hole Hospital
- Campaigning to change water birth bans at local hospitals
- Encourage cooperation between local childbirth care providers