LEAF welcomes the June 2nd announcement by the government of Prince Edward Island that it is “moving forward with its commitment to address barriers to abortion access.”
The province announced that it has established a new arrangement with the Moncton Hospital to provide timely access to abortion services for Island women. LEAF applauds the decision to enable women to access the service directly without a doctor’s referral. This is an important step forward. However, the government statement does not address the fact that PEI women must still incur travel costs, child care costs, and considerable inconvenience to access this new option.
PEI women are the only women in Canada without any access to safe, legal abortion in their home province. For more than 25 years, PEI has refused to abide by the spirit of the Supreme Court of Canada’s decision in Morgentaler by completely denying access to abortion on the Island.
LEAF is glad to see that the government of PEI recognizes that it “has an obligation to be in line with the Charter of Rights and Freedoms” to remove barriers to this safe and legal procedure. However, in addition to this important step forward, more change is needed to achieve reproductive justice in the province and to address this unacceptable situation.
Last year, the National Abortion Federation identified doctors willing to provide abortion care in PEI, and worked with the Department of Health to develop a business proposal showing that providing abortion care locally would actually save the province money.
Access to abortion (along with other elements of reproductive health care such as access to contraception, information and support for parenting) is critical for equality rights to be realized. LEAF calls upon the government of PEI to immediately fund and provide access to abortion in that province.
Jane Ledwell, Executive Director, PEI Advisory Council on the Status of Women
902-368-4510 [email protected]
Kim Stanton, LEAF Legal Director, 416-595-7170 x223 [email protected]