Barriers remain to abortion access

Maureen Coulter
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A clinic at this  Moncton hospital was accessed by close to 70 Island women seeking access to a safe abortion  within six months of the toll-free phone line being launched.

 

Sixty-eight Island women accessed abortion services at a clinic in Moncton within six months of the toll-free phone line being launched.

This phone line allows women to book abortions at The Family Planning Clinic at the Moncton Hospital without a referral from a doctor.

Between July and December, 59 Island women had abortions at the clinic while nine received counselling or other clinic services.

Health P.E.I. was billed for an additional 49 Island women who had abortions at the Queen Elizabeth II Health Sciences Centre in Halifax during 2015.

Colleen MacQuarrie, co-chairwoman of Abortion Access Now P.E.I. Inc., said this phone line is a good first step towards better access, but barriers still exist for Island women.

"The fact that you still need to leave the province though, is a residual barrier that's still deeply problematic, especially for women who don't have the same level of resources or supports that other women do. "

Abortion Access Now P.E.I. Inc. is the first Island incorporated group dedicated to promoting and advocating for local access to safe abortions in the province.

MacQuarrie said there are many women who have unplanned pregnancies, but it's only when they are unwanted that a need for abortion becomes a part of a woman's options.

Prince Edward Island is the only province in the country that does not provide surgical abortion services.

"Access to safe abortion is a key cornerstone in women's reproductive health care," said MacQuarrie.

Health P.E.I. and Horizon Health Network have partnered together to ensure that Island women can receive these services for free at the clinic in Moncton.

All services are billed to Health P.E.I. as they are now part of an inter-provincial billing agreement with New Brunswick.

"The fact that you still need to leave the province though, is a residual barrier that's still deeply problematic, especially for women who don't have the same level of resources or supports that other women do. " Colleen MacQuarrie, co-chairwoman of Abortion Access Now P.E.I. Inc.

The network said in a news release, there is no backlog of Island women wanting abortion services at the clinic.

MacQuarrie said the number of women accessing these services off-Island shows there is clearly a need for local abortion services.

However, MacQuarrie said it is likely barriers will still exist even when the services are offered on the Island.

"By no means do I ever think it will be the best it could be in terms of no barriers," said MacQuarrie. "I'm pretty sure that even when it's located say in Summerside or Charlottetown that the women in the farther reaches of the province will still need our care and attention to make sure that they are not left out of the circ

Organizations: The Family Planning Clinic, Moncton Hospital, Queen Elizabeth II Health Sciences Centre Abortion Access Now P.E.I.

Geographic location: Prince Edward Island, Moncton, Halifax New Brunswick Summerside Charlottetown

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Recent comments

  • Meredith
    February 02, 2016 - 09:06

    Um, did someone nod off on the last sentence of the article? This is basic human rights people ... or did any of you forget that women are humans. Of course you did. You need to seriously stop drinking the coolaid. #heywade #accessnow

    • hmmm
      February 02, 2016 - 17:10

      So? Practicing one's religion is a basic human right , and one that is more explicitly stated, but that doesn't mean one gets a government cheque to cover your travel expenses to church. And it does not mean that the government does not place restrictions on it.

    • Good Lord
      February 02, 2016 - 17:33

      Yes, people forgot women were human. really? That's the issue?

  • Not Enough Barriers remain
    February 01, 2016 - 20:03

    Not enough barriers remain - it's too easy to have no conscience.

  • Joan Macdonald
    February 01, 2016 - 12:48

    we claim not to legalize the death penalty, yet these unborn innocent children are given the death penalty with no charge against them. For any expectant mother who has suffered the loss of a child through miscarriage, as I have , twice, the feeling of loss is deep and will remain with me always. To have this happen deliberately, is simply unthinkable.

  • J
    February 01, 2016 - 12:31

    That's 68 fewer children for our island population!!!!

  • Come on
    February 01, 2016 - 11:54

    you would swear you were all a bunch of 2 year olds. If you don't want there to be a chance of getting pregnant, do something about it before having sex!!!! Good gawd, if I was seriously concerned about the slightest chance of getting pregnant, I would be "grown up enough" to do something about it, instead of getting "caught" and wanting tax payers to cough up the bill for my "stupidity". Bottom line USE COMMON SENSE!!!!!!