Defending status quo for abortion on P.E.I.

Teresa Wright
Send to a friend

Send this article to a friend.

FILE PHOTO: Approximately 300 pro-life protesters gathered at Province House Sunday to protest abortion and to demand the Ghiz government stop funding what they call medically unnecessary abortions in off Island facilities.

Premier says he’s balancing many views on controversial issue

P.E.I. Premier Wade MacLauchlan is defending his decision to keep Prince Edward Island the only province in Canada where women do not have access to in-province abortion services.

During his year-end interview with The Guardian, MacLauchlan noted his government did make abortion services easier for Island women to access in Moncton – a move that came just weeks after his May election victory.

But when asked why the province still does not allow this health service to be performed in Prince Edward Island, MacLauchlan says it’s a decision based on the divided views of Islanders.

“In the case of government, that’s why one serves as premier or why people choose a government, it’s your job to assess what the view is on things and to choose the timing for steps to be taken and that’s what we’ve done,” he said.

“I think we are consistent with what we said during the election and we’re also following what Prince Edward Islanders feel about this, including that this is a very controversial issue.”

P.E.I. women no longer have to seek two preliminary doctors' referrals, an ultrasound or blood work — all steps previously necessary to access provincially covered abortions in the only other Health P.E.I. approved hospital in Halifax.

But Island women do still need to travel out of the province at their own cost, including the $45.50 Confederation Bridge toll – which increases to $46 on Jan.1.

The issue of abortion access in P.E.I. has dominated headlines throughout 2015 due to advocacy and protests from groups on both sides of the issue.

Politicians running for election in the provincial and federal election faced questions about abortion regularly through the course of the two campaigns this year.

The issue was so prevalent in the headlines, it was a contender for The Guardian’s news story of the year for 2015.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau told The Guardian in September he was pleased to see the provincial government has made some moves to allow Island women better access to reproductive health services.

But he hinted the province might soon have to start offering abortions in the province.

“I recognize that Premier MacLauchlan has made positive steps in the right direction, but it’s important that every Canadian across this country has access to a full range of health services, including full reproductive services, in every province in the country.”

Advocates who have been fighting to make this service available in Prince Edward Island say they will continue to push for full abortion access and after-care to be available in P.E.I.

A new group, Abortion Access Now P.E.I. Inc., has been officially incorporated with the province to champion this cause and provide assistance and support to Island women.

“There are still some barriers to women who want to get an abortion,” said spokeswoman Ann Wheatley.

“Because it’s off-Island they have to take a day off work, the cost of travel and child care really disadvantages women who are lower-income. We feel it’s about time we made sure Island women have proper access.”

Organizations: The Guardian, Health P.E.I., Abortion Access Now P.E.I.

Geographic location: Prince Edward Island, Canada, Moncton Halifax

  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5

Thanks for voting!

Top of page



Recent comments

  • The Law is the Law
    December 29, 2015 - 11:34

    This is Canada not the USA. Local fundamentalist Christians cannot impose their idiosyncratic dogmas on women's claiming "states rights". The courts must order PEI to join Canada not Mississippi or Alabama. Would it be OK to balance not renting to Jews or Africans because it was someones right to do so?

  • Joyce Arthur
    December 29, 2015 - 11:31

    PEI Premier MacLauchlan just doesn't get it. Upholding human rights is not a matter of "balancing" the views of feminists vs. misogynists, or humanists vs. religious fanatics. It is discrimination, and a violation of the Canada Health Act, to send people out-of-province for a basic and necessary health service that only women and some trans people need.

  • Backwater Island
    December 29, 2015 - 09:27

    Sometimes this backwater province baffles me. How is this still an issue? The Supreme Court of Canada has ruled that this should be available to all women in every province. We have doctors that are willing to do the procedures on the island. We have studies that it would be cheaper for the province and the individuals having to procedures. The province does not need new equipment to make this available. There is no actual reason why this should not have been resolved a long time ago. We will have this service on PEI, it is a matter of time. The only question is how many island women will have to suffer needlessly before that time. The Pro / Anti-abortion fight has nothing to do with this issue. The current law is clear. Abortions are legal and accepted. If you want that changed, then that’s what you should be railing on about. Not trying to put undo hardships on these women, who are just trying to access something that they legally should have in their province.

  • Stillborn
    December 28, 2015 - 22:25

    I support Premier McLaughlin & plead Mr Trudeau to leave this small province alone in this regard. I had a stillborn at 22 weeks many years ago. He was a perfect little boy, who looked just like my husband. For anyone to think that these are not real babies you should picture yourself with us at that time on our lives. It was a devastating time in our lives to lose our little boy. Later we adopted a beautiful baby boy. Because of this mother choosing life for the child in her womb we were blessed with the chance to have a beautiful son. Just had to share. ❤️

  • Senior Islander
    December 28, 2015 - 21:30

    I and many Islanders have no problem with the Province supporting abortion services as it operates at present. Sure it is not a perfect system but it is absolutely absurd to worry about providing full services because it is slightly expensive to travel out of province for same. Just remember that there are a number of health services which are not available on PEI whereby people have to travel elsewhere in Canada to be serviced and the majority of some of these health problems do not entail one or two days and one or two trips. They can cost thousands of dollars and many many trips and in many instances for people who are in very poor health. While I can understand the politics of the matter I can only caution the politicians to be careful on this issue as I know a lot of good liberal supporters who would disagree with favoring abortion travel costss over other necessary out of province health travel costs.

  • de udder guy
    December 28, 2015 - 19:19

    As usual what goes unsaid is all the opposition to abortion comes from religion. As well as the fact that the Supreme Court has ruled on this already and full services by law are supposed to be available to Island women...on PEI.

    • Rita joseph
      December 29, 2015 - 01:51

      Protecting innocent human lives from lethal attack doesn't need to rely on 'religion'. It's the pro-abortion ideologues who with excessive quasi-religious zeal deny the scientifically demonstrable humanity of their tiny victims. Both reason and science confirm that the mother's unborn child targeted for abortion is already in existence, being protected and nurtured in her/his mother's womb. With astonishing accuracy, we can locate the child within definite co-ordinates of space and time. The child is not a generic, anonymous fetus. We can identify the child's father, and whether the child is a son or a daughter. We can ascertain long before birth that the child is a unique member of the human family, biologically, genetically, and genealogically. Biology, embryology, fetal surgery, ultrasound technology, and examination of the human remains of an abortion all tell us that the tiny victim, selected to be aborted, is a human being, belonging to the human family, a human being who even at the earliest stages can be identified as a daughter or son, a 'who' not a generic 'thing'. The pseudo-right to abort another human being stands in direct contradiction to the long, hard-won tradition of rights and freedoms, a tradition forbidding that anyone should have ownership and lethal disposal rights over any other human being, no matter how small or dependent or troublesome or unwanted.

  • Ambrose Atkins, Ottawa ON
    December 28, 2015 - 16:12

    I am pleased to see that The Guardian is giving the Pro-Life side of this issue. Despite what the pro-abortion advocates say, the majority of Canadian believe that we need some sort of law restricting abortion, particularly those in later term.

  • Jus Saying
    December 28, 2015 - 13:35

    Im willing to bet that a good number of people who strongly support abortion would also be one of the first to stand in cold waist deep water to pour water over a stranded whale and also collect donations to help abandoned kitties and puppies. Jus saying

  • I Vote
    December 28, 2015 - 13:07

    SHAME on Wad.

  • ranter
    December 28, 2015 - 13:02

    What is "proper access" Ann? To have our medical professionals all bend and scrape at a moment's notice to ensure all women who want to kill their babies can do so with minimal inconvenience? Yep, sounds "proper" to me.