P.E.I. approach to abortion ‘blatantly unconstitutional,' group says

Teresa Wright
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An enthusiastic group took part in a rally Tuesday outside the legislature adding their voice to the call for government to end Prince Edward Island's dubious distinction as the lone province in Canada where surgical abortions are not available.

Abortion Rights Coalition of Canada strongly supporting constitutional legal challenge by local advocates

The Abortion Rights Coalition of Canada is strongly supporting the constitutional legal challenge that will be launched in 90 days against the P.E.I. provincial government by a local pro-choice group.

Abortion Access Now P.E.I. announced its intention to sue the government on Tuesday.There has been no abortion services on the Island since 1982.

“P.E.I. has been openly hostile to women’s right to accessible abortion for far too long,” said Joyce Arthur, executive director of the Abortion Rights Coalition of Canada. “The province’s abortion restrictions were enacted in open defiance of the Supreme Court of Canada’s decision in January 1988.”

The court threw out almost the exact same type of restriction that P.E.I. then passed a requirement to get pre-approval from at least one doctor before getting an abortion.

Arthur said that another provincial regulation was enacted at the time to limit funded abortions to hospitals, “with no objective other than to stop Dr. Morgentaler from opening a clinic in P.E.I.”

“The extent to which the province has been blatantly violating women’s Charter rights for 30 years is shocking,” said Josie Baker, who is a spokewoman and board member for the national group, as well as a founding member of Abortion Access Now P.E.I.

The coalition says the restrictions are also discriminatory, because they target a health service that only women need, as well as some transgender people.

“We’re excited about this lawsuit and glad that the P.E.I. government will finally be held to account for its deliberate infliction of harm and stigma onto women over decades,” said Arthur. “We’re very confident that women will win and the P.E.I. government will lose. No provincial government has any legal authority to discriminate on the basis of gender, or deny constitutional rights to women and other historically marginalized populations.”

Organizations: Abortion Rights Coalition of Canada, Supreme Court of Canada

Geographic location: P.E.I., Iceland

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Recent comments

  • Pamela Pennell
    January 11, 2016 - 08:13

    For every baby aborted, our demographics go down resulting in having to bring in more immigrants, refugees ,etc to keep the economy going and this has resulted in making us a minorty in our own country. We do not have as many babies as people do from other countries,eg Moslems do not abort their babies,nor should they. Nor should we, there is always a way, better to put baby up for adoption. Pro Choice is Pro Murder,and thou shalt not murder. How has life been for you since the abortion or abortions in some cases. Free will is not Free.

    • John McClaine
      January 11, 2016 - 17:48

      Hahahah !

  • Observation
    January 11, 2016 - 05:49

    It's a sad state of affairs when women are fighting for increased access to abort their children, legality aside. And, the motive for men is suspect. No child, no responsibility. Deadbeats.

  • Better Cause
    January 10, 2016 - 11:36

    The group would be better off looking for ways to make the access to the services already provided off Island and on Island easier, then by suing the government, which is already making changes to healthcare. There are bigger and more important issues in healthcare then abortion convenience. And this is the argument, these people are upset it isn't more convenient for them to access. Next they will be asking for in home procedures, because they don't want people knowing what they are going to the clinics for. If these groups really want to get abortion access on Prince Edward Island, they are better off using their resources to locate a Doctor willing to set up and do them here on the Island as a private clinic. And I am a Pro-Choice supporter, but I am not a supporter of these groups asking for the extra tax dollars.

  • Truth Seeker
    Truth Seeker
    January 09, 2016 - 18:01

    I hope this sparks a flurry of national news attention and the ones responsible are tarred and feathered. If the government doesn't do it we need to band together make these "law breakers" social pariahs.

  • Gant
    January 09, 2016 - 15:42

    I look forward to this going to court, and find out that abortion is not a right, but it is supplied out of the goodness of the taxpayers heart. I am tired of people assigning demands on me to supply anything that is asked for such as abortion on demand, drug shoot- up centres, needle exchanges and mental health services for drug addled minds.

    • Shirley
      January 10, 2016 - 13:28

      I agree

    • Maiden PEI
      January 10, 2016 - 19:41

      Me too!

  • Lucy
    January 09, 2016 - 15:34

    @S Your body , your choice, - go for it. My money, - my choice to try to hang on to it for myself, not your pleasures.

  • Sick of this
    January 09, 2016 - 14:01

    I'm so tired of this. Do you know how many people have to travel off island for medical services and have to pay out of their own pockets? Surgeries, tests, consultations, follow ups. I could go on and on. The travel, accommodations, food and not to mention more than likely time missed from work is a huge financial burden for many islanders every year. Access to abortion....what about access for open heart surgery or a burn unit or brain injuries or dye tests or neck surgeries or more advanced care for sick mothers or their sick babies. I'm a woman and I'm neither for or against abortion but I do know one thing, I don't want to be traveling to Halifax for myself or a loved one for surgery and drive pass a newly built, provincial funded abortion clinic.

    • anon 2
      January 10, 2016 - 11:24

      Abortion is a relatively cheap procedure, not requiring expensive equipment or highly specialized physicians. It can be done in our existing medical facilities by the people currently employed. It would be cheaper to provide abortion services here than to be paying for people to leave PEI. This is not the same for other procedures that do require more sophisticated services. As such, it is cheaper to send people elsewhere for certain things.

  • S
    January 09, 2016 - 10:25

    My body, my choice. If every woman in canada has the right to abortion access, why don't we??

    • PFSST!
      January 10, 2016 - 07:08

      Your body, your choice???? Grow up and treat it with respect, then you won't need this kind of access!!!!!

    • Maiden PEI
      January 10, 2016 - 19:47

      Reproductive choice = choosing to have sex or not to have sex.

    • Caring
      January 11, 2016 - 07:34

      Access is just across a bridge, not a big deal

    • Woods Island
      January 11, 2016 - 22:45

      @Caring The "access" you're describing is a $45.00 fee, ~$100.00 in gas, lost wages for the woman and lost wages for the person who has to accompany them. It's not your body. Therefore, it is not your concern.