A UPEI professor researching P.E.I. women and their experiences accessing abortions has found many women become desperate because of the stigma surrounding abortion on the Island.
'[A] fourteen-year-old who found herself pregnant … engaged in two weeks of intense self-harm.' —Colleen MacQuarrie
P.E.I. is the only province where abortions aren't performed. Anyone wanting the procedure must travel to Fredericton or Halifax.
Psychology professor Colleen MacQuarrie is conducting a series of interviews with Island women who've had an abortion, or have wanted one in the past. She's also talking to their close family members and friends.
"So for example, the story of the fourteen-year-old who found herself pregnant and was desperate to not even tell anyone she was pregnant and so engaged in two weeks of intense self-harm, ingesting different chemicals, just doing anything she could to bring on a period," said MacQuarrie.
"She couldn't go to the gym because her body was so horribly bruised."
MacQuarrie says stories like this show what women will do when abortion services aren't available. She has spoken with more than 30 people so far, and plans on speaking to about 100 more.