CHARLOTTETOWN, PEI, March 31, 2016 (LifeSiteNews) — The last Canadian province to withhold offering abortion on demand has fallen today. The PEI government announced this afternoon that by the end of this year, mothers will be able to have their preborn babies aborted on island soil paid by tax dollars instead of having to drive off island for the procedure.
In a press release today, Premier Wade MacLauchlan said that the province would likely not succeed against a lawsuit that was threatened by abortion advocates who demanded that the province provide full and unrestricted access to publicly funded abortion on the Island.
“Based on legal advice that current policies regarding access to in-province abortion services would likely be in violation of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, government determined that the most responsible approach is to revise the policy rather than embark on a long and costly court case,” he said.
Pro-life lawyers have argued that the Canada Health Act does not actually require provincial health plans to cover abortion, only “medically necessary” services, which are determined by the provincial government. In 2012, the Canadian Physicians for Life stated its position that “it is our strong belief that no abortions are medically necessary.”
MacLauchlan said that the province would launch a “comprehensive approach to women’s health” that would include medical and surgical abortions.
“We recognize that Islanders, including members of the legislative assembly, have strong personal beliefs on this issue; we also recognize our obligation to provide timely and professional health care, without discrimination,” he said.
A woman’s right to choose is fundamental in Canada. We welcome today’s announcement by PEI Premier MacLauchlan on reproductive services.
— Justin Trudeau (@JustinTrudeau) March 31, 2016
Last year MacLauchlan campaigned on the promise to increase access to abortion for island women if he won the election.
The Abortion Rights Coalition of Canada gladly received the news.
“Abortion services are finally coming to Prince Edward Island! We've been told by a well-placed source that this is partly because of the lawsuit against the province, and partly because Prime Minister Trudeau has directed the province to do so,” it said.
Campaign Life Coalition (CLC), the political arm of the country’s pro-life movement, has condemned the move.
“Campaign Life Coalition strongly condemns today’s decision by the PEI government to allow abortionists to kill pre-born human beings on the Island and to force taxpayers to pay for these abortions,” it stated in a press release.
“In today’s announcement, Premier Wade MacLauchlan, Health Minister Rob Henderson and the Minister for the Status of Women, Paula Biggar, claimed that they have listened to both sides of the debate, but in reality the only position they cared about was the one they shared with pro-abortion activists,” said CLC president Jim Hughes.