CHARLOTTETOWN, P.E.I., November 21, 2011 (LifeSiteNews.com) - Prince Edward Island’s Opposition health critic has said neither the Tories nor the ruling Liberals are interested in re-opening a debate on having abortions committed on the island.
“We are in agreement with the government that, at this time, their position on this issue is not changing,” Conservative health critic James Aylward told the CBC.
Aylward endorsed Health Minister Doug Currie’s position that the island’s status as Canada’s only abortion-free province will continue. “Right now, I see no reason to veer off the current status,” Currie had told The Guardian newspaper. “I see nothing changing and the status quo is in place and that’s my position on it right now.”
The Opposition health critic noted that many medical procedures are not available on P.E.I. However, the government does pay for women to obtain abortions off-island, primarily in New Brunswick and Nova Scotia.
“There are many services that are currently not available on P.E.I. that Islanders do have to travel off Island for,” Aylward said. “Unfortunately, due to our limited resources here on P.E.I., being a small province, being a small population, there is just so much money to go around.”
The NDP and the Green Party, with no seats in the P.E.I. government and only 3.2% and 4.4% respectively of the popular vote in the October election, are backing the efforts of a new abortion lobby group, called the PEI Reproductive Rights Organization (PRRO), that held a rally outside Charlottetown’s legislature on Saturday.
According to the CBC, about 150 abortion advocates gathered. They were met by about 200 pro-lifers who gathered in a counter-demonstration.
Green Party leader Sharon Labchuk told the abortion advocates that the government should make abortion available on the island rather than spending money on “fake hills,” referring to a landscaping project at the foot of the Confederation Bridge intended to beautify the entrance to the province.
The CBC reported that NDP leader James Rodd was also at the pro-abortion side of the rally, and quoted him as saying, “The province has been abrogating its responsibility to women in Prince Edward Island for over 30 years. It’s a question of equality.”
Ann Marie Tomlins of PEI Right to Life said she was pleased that more islanders came to the rally to support life than to advocate for abortion.
“This is traditionally a very pro-life place and I don’t think that’s changed,” Tomlins said. “There are people out there who are not on our side in this issue, but I just think because of the nature of the Island, we certainly hold the majority.”