Abortion policy on P.E.I. to remain 'status quo'
Activists groups plan stronger campaigns
There will be no change to the policy for providing abortions on P.E.I., which sees none performed on the Island, Premier Robert Ghiz told CBC News this week.
Currently Islanders seeking abortions must travel to a private clinic in Fredericton or to a mainland hospital for the procedure. Hospital abortions are paid for by the province.
During his year-end interview on CBC-TV's Compass this week, Ghiz said there would be no change to that policy.
"I'm going to stay with the status quo," he said.
"We're going to listen to the groups that are out there and realize this is a very emotional issue on both sides. But as a government, the status quo is going to remain in effect."
Ghiz went on to say Island women travelling to New Brunswick and Nova Scotia for abortions is "a good compromise."
The firm position comes as a bit of a surprise, given the negotiation process Health Minister Doug Currie appears to be going through this month. Currie met with groups on both sides of the issue last week.
The P.E.I. Reproductive Rights Organization was surprised to hear Ghiz's comments.
"It's definitely disappointing that he isn't open to the idea of changing what currently is in place here on the Island," said Sam Wight.
Wight said her group will continue to pressure the government for change.
P.E.I.'s Right to Life Association is pleased the government is sticking with the status quo, but also intends to keep pressure on the government. Ultimately, it would like to see access to abortions more restricted.
"We'll be asking the government, through time, to question themselves as to the number of abortions that they are doing now, which is too many. And the fact that they're paying for abortions or providing abortions at all," said Ann Marie Tomlins.
About 140 women a year leave P.E.I. to have the procedure.
Tomlins said the Right to Life Association is planning a large new anti-abortion campaign in the new year, and will release details Jan. 3.