Centre de Santé des Femmes de Montréal
By YP Contributor

An Agent of Social Integration

The multidisciplinary team at Centre de santé des femmes de Montréal, located on De Lorimier Avenue in Montreal, works seven days a week to help women take control of their sexual and reproductive health. Employees of the Centre say it is important to listen to their clients' needs and help them without being judgmental. The team members, who share the same altruistic and feminist values, are thrilled to inspire their clientele with a sense of empowerment and well-being.

For Anne Marie Messier, who has always been a feminist, working at the Centre de santé des femmes de Montréal came from an inner need. With a professional background in culture and music, she saw the Centre as an opportunity to draw on her experience, while actively serving a cause close to her heart.

"When it opened on the Plateau Mont-Royal in 1975, the Centre de santé des femmes de Montréal was a group that transmitted information, and since 1981, practised abortion," she says. Now it's a group that has expanded its vision to include the needs of the most vulnerable women in society. It offers personal service, and is an agent of social integration.

The women who leave here are stronger. They learned something about themselves, they made decisions for themselves. - Anne Marie Messier, director general
Anne-Marie Messier is the director general of the Centre de santé des femmes de Montréal.

Significant Feminist Movement

How did the centre come about? Anne Marie recalls the '70's in Quebec, an important era of questioning for feminists. Some were tired of relying on the traditional health care system and instead dreamed of helping women take things into their own hands. It was this movement that gave rise to the Centre de santé des femmes de Montréal.

"The Centre was one of those groups that in part made it possible for Quebec to have a clinic in all regions," says Anne Marie. Today, she looks very closely at all aspects of women's health and keeps an eye on the news, looking out for problem areas.

The staff say the work is very rewarding; in addition to providing contraceptive, abortion and screening services, employees explain things to newcomers, like how the Quebec health system works. They speak of women's rights and discuss anatomy and consent with those living with disabilities.

The Centre de santé des femmes de Montréal is a community organization that helps women take control of their sexual and reproductive health.

True Heart

"Before working at Centre de santé des femmes I would rarely see people sending flowers and cards to say thank you. Here we see it," says Anne-Marie. "The women who leave here are stronger. They learned something about themselves. They made decisions for themselves."

According to Anne-Marie, access to abortion in Quebec is easily available for women. With that said, she believes it's still a huge challenge in the rest of the world. "Le Centre de santé des femmes de Montréal continues to fight to the end to help as many women as possible," she says.

In order to do that, in 2016, Le Centre de santé des femmes de Montréal launched its first major fundraising campaign "Du coeur au ventres." The Centre's team has set an ambitious goal: to raise $ 1.2 million over three years. "In 40 years, the faces of the women we see has changed, they are often more vulnerable, their needs are urgent and often more difficult to fulfill," says Anne Marie. This campaign will be crucial to reach more Montreal women and meet their evolving needs.

The Centre de santé des femmes de Montréal is a community organization that helps women take control of their sexual and reproductive health.
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