CHARLOTTETOWN, P.E.I., Jan. 29, 2013 (LifeSiteNews.com) - As a national media outlet reports that a doctor on Prince Edward Island is offering medical abortions, a top health official says doctors are free to offer the procedure.
The news shocked local pro-life leaders who had long touted the province as North America’s lone “life sanctuary,” believing no abortions took place on the island, even though they are funded off-island through tax dollars.
CBC News and Charlottetown’s Guardian newspaper reported Tuesday morning that they spoke with an anonymous woman who had aborted after obtaining a prescription for a chemical abortion from an unnamed doctor on the island.
The deadly chemical abortion procedure is performed in the first seven to nine weeks of pregnancy. It involves taking a drug, often mifepristone, to kill the child in utero followed by a drug to expel the baby’s body from the woman’s uterus.
The revelation that medical abortions are offered on P.E.I. comes in the wake of a concerted campaign by the national abortion lobby to force the province to make the deadly procedure available. As it stands, women must travel to a hospital in Halifax or the Morgentaler abortion facility in Fredericton to obtain a surgical abortion.
The province has been labeled the “life sanctuary” after being abortion-free for over 25 years. That was the result of a successful campaign by pro-life advocates in the 1980s to lobby hospital boards throughout the province to cease providing abortions.
But Dr. Richard Wedge, acting CEO of Health P.E.I., says medical abortions are not tracked on P.E.I. so they do not know how many are committed, but doctors are free to offer them if they choose.
“These are commonly available medications, and if someone decided to start offering this service, I’m sure they would have gone and learned about it, figured out how to do it and started offering it,” he told The Guardian.
"I'm not aware of actually any physicians that are actively promoting this kind of treatment," he said. But, he acknowledged, “if they wanted to carry that out there’s no prohibition from doing that.”
“As long as they’re licensed to practise medicine, they’re licensed to prescribe the medicine and they learn how to do the procedure, then they do it,” he added. “This is done in an office, it’s not even done in a hospital.”
The woman told The Guardian that she obtained a medical abortion from the unnamed doctor last fall because she already had small children and was “not prepared” for another child, in the paper’s words.
“I have no idea what I would have done without that doctor. I can literally say he probably saved my life,” she said. “I was looking on the Internet for ways to self-abort or where I could buy this medication. Who knows what I would have been getting? I was feeling pretty depressed. I just couldn’t see a way out and he was my last hope.”
Ann Marie Tomlins, interim president of the PEI Right to Life Association, said the news is “very disturbing” and expressed fear that this physician was endangering women because of the dangerous side effects associated with abortion pills.
"Any doctor who would give a woman a prescription for a deadly cocktail should have his medical license revoked," she said. "This is a small province and it will not be long until this doctor's name is revealed. When this happens, I predict that there will be a mass exodus of patients from his practice. Any doctor who would put a woman's life at risk would be hard pressed to find people who would trust him or her with their medical care."
Mary Ellen Douglas, national organizer for Campaign Life Coalition, said P.E.I. is “under direct attack by the pro-abortion movement.”
“We have been fighting chemical abortions almost as long as we’ve been fighting abortions in the hospitals,” she said. “Babies can die just as fast with these abortion pills as they can with Henry Morgentaler.”