Prince Edward Island pledges to keep island abortion-free despite new lobby group
CHARLOTTETOWN, P.E.I., November 9, 2011 (LifeSiteNews.com) - The government of Prince Edward Island has pledged to keep the province abortion-free after a renewed push for greater access to the deadly procedure.
“Right now, I see no reason to veer off the current status,” Health Minister Doug Currie told PEI’s The Guardian newspaper. “I see nothing changing and the status quo is in place and that’s my position on it right now.”
The media pressure follows the formation of a new abortion lobby group called the PEI Reproductive Rights Organization, who are planning a rally for Nov. 19th to call on the government to bring abortion back to the province.
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.
The government does pay for women to obtain abortions off-island, however, primarily in New Brunswick and Nova Scotia.
“Everyone should have the same access to health care — that’s why we have public health care,” Sam Wight, PRRO’s spokesperson, told The Guardian. “This is not accessible to everybody. There have been times in the history where it has been accessible here. So there’s no reason why it can’t be again.”
The launch of the lobby group dovetails with an effort by UPEI professor Dr. Colleen MacQuarrie to collect stories about difficulties experienced by PEI’s women in obtaining abortions. The stated intent of MacQuarrie’s research is to help “create reproductive justice” and “change PEI’s abortion policy to open access for women.”
The abortion push has found support from the province’s Green party, which placed third in this fall’s election at 4.4% of the vote.
Sharon Labchuk, the party’s leader, said the Liberal government’s position represents “blatant discrimination against women, especially low-income women.”
According to Ann Marie Tomlins of PEI Right to Life, the lobby group has been blanketing the University of PEI campus with pro-abortion literature to spread the fact that the province will pay for abortions off-island.
Tomlins emphasized that there are numerous medically-necessary procedures for which PEI citizens must travel off-island at their own expense. “So why should we be paying transportation for somebody to do what’s an elective surgery, or choice, an abortion?” she asked.
“I don’t think there should be abortions anywhere,” she added.
Hon. Robert Ghiz
Premier of Prince Edward Island
Hon. Doug Currie
Minister of Health and Wellness