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Judge rejects challenge to abortion funding on Prince Edward Island

Lianne Laurence Lianne Laurence Follow Lianne

CHARLOTTETOWN, Prince Edward Island, July 19, 2016 (LifeSiteNews) — A Prince Edward Island Supreme Court justice has thrown out an island man’s request for a judicial review of the province's abortion funding.

Kevin Arsenault of Fort Augustus “does not have significant private interest in the proceeding,” nor has he shown that there is public interest, Justice Nancy Key ruled Monday, according to CBC.

Arsenault argued that Premier Wade MacLauchlan’s Liberal government violated provincial regulations by funding abortions because they are not medically necessary.

But after hearing arguments from both sides in the morning, Key agreed with government lawyer Robert MacNevin, who told the Court that Arsenault did not have legal standing because he doesn’t have a “real stake or genuine interest” in the matter and was “acting as a lone taxpayer to assert his beliefs on abortion.”

Arsenault, who filed his application in February, argued that the “direct harm to me relates to my status as a taxpayer, where I must abide by government policies and practices that I believe are immoral and illegal.”

MacNevin also stated that because regulations changed last month, the health ministry is not legally obliged to determine if abortions are medically necessary.

Arsenault countered that “categorically, all health services still require that payment can only be triggered if they're medically required.”

He said interested citizens must bring the abortion issue before the court because “unborn children” cannot, whereupon MacNevin retorted: “We’re not dealing with children. We’re dealing with unborn fetuses. Unborn fetuses don't have legal standing in this country.”

Arsenault told the CBC in February that he launched his court action after the Liberals announced Island women no longer needed a referral from Health PEI or a doctor to have an abortion at the Moncton Hospital.

MacLauchlan’s government had come under increasing pressure by Liberal Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and an aggressive abortion lobby — which launched a lawsuit against the government in January -- to provide access to abortion on the Island, which has been abortion free.

Indeed, in his court file, Arsenault referred to the PEI legislature’s 1988 resolution: “Be it resolved that the legislative assembly of P.E.I. oppose the performing of abortions, except where there are grounds to believe the life of the mother is endangered.”

MacLaughlan announced in March that his government would provide medical and surgical abortions on the Island by the end of the year.

LifeSiteNews could not reach Arsenault for comment.

Mary-Ellen Douglas, national organizer for Campaign Life Coalition, said she applauded Arsenault’s efforts.

“What I really appreciated, when I read the report, was that the government lawyer took 10 minutes to explain his side” but Arsenault argued for an hour on behalf of unborn children, she told LifeSiteNews.

“I’m proud that he took a stand,” she added. “If we had everyone doing this, this would be finished. We have to light the fire under people.”

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