Abortions performed on 49 P.E.I. women in N.B. since direct phone line launched
Island health officials announced toll-free line for abortion appointments at the Moncton Hospital in July
In the past five months, 49 P.E.I. women accessed abortion services in Moncton, CBC News has learned.
Another 12 patients received counselling or other clinical services, according to Horizon Health Network.
While surgical abortions aren't performed on P.E.I., on June 2, provincial health officials announced a new toll-free line that would allow women to book the service at the Moncton Hospital without a referral from a doctor or Health PEI.
Horizon Health Network, the New Brunswick health authority that runs the hospital, said it doesn't keep track of the number of calls, only the number of procedures.
It said there haven't been any wait times for P.E.I women wanting abortions between the time the phone line launched on July 1 to Nov. 30.
And no money is exchanged as abortions are part of an inter-provincial billing agreement.
The P.E.I. Abortion Rights Network said the phone line is a step in the right direction, but it would like to see a general sexual health clinic open on the Island.
'Pretty high number'
"Really, my reaction is that that's a pretty high number of people to be sending off P.E.I. for a primary health service," said network spokeswoman Josie Baker.
"Self-referral is essential. It really allows women to take control of their lives and to make a decision as an adult person in our society, what kind of course she wants her life to take."
Nicole Dupuis, who is with the Campaign Life Coalition in P.E.I., said the provincial funding for the line should be funneled into areas other than abortion.
"A help line for example for crisis pregnancy situations. We need financial funding for those women who feel that they cannot provide ordinary care, not even extraordinary care, for their child and for themselves. We need a women's shelter, desperately need a women's shelter to be put into place. We need adoption to be a more celebrated solution."
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