The Province of P.E.I. has made arrangements with Moncton Hospital to provide access to abortions without a referral from a doctor or Health PEI.

The new system will allow P.E.I. women to call a toll-free number and make an appointment for an abortion at the Moncton N.B. hospital.

"The arrangement will enable Island women to directly access the service in Moncton and have the service covered by Prince Edward Island medicare by presenting their Prince Edward Island health card," said Premier Wade MacLauchlan.

"Women will be able to directly access the service without a doctor's referral or medical office signature or going through the preliminary steps that have been required. This new arrangement will provide confidential, timely health care and ensure continuity of service."

Premier MacLauchlan, Health Minister Doug Currie and Paula Biggar, minister responsible for the status of women, made the announcement at a news conference Tuesday morning.

P.E.I. abortion announcement

Minister Responsible for the Status of Women Paula Biggar, Premier Wade MacLauchlan and Minister of Health and Wellness Doug Currie announced measures they say will make abortion services more accessible to P.E.I. women. (Bill Van Asperen)

MacLauchlan says the province has an obligation to be in line with the Charter of Rights and Freedoms and the Canada Health Act.

He also says the government will work to ensure women have easy access to information about abortion services.

Currently P.E.I. is the only province in Canada that does not provide abortion services. It pays for them, but the procedure must be done in a hospital out of province.

Abortion services have been a hot political subject on the Island for three years. The government has faced criticism for making it difficult for women on the Island to access abortions.

The new service will begin July 1.