P.E.I. abortion access 'tremendous victory' say 2 women who've been there
'I feel ecstatic about it. I feel so happy'
Two Island women who've had to travel off-Island for abortions are applauding the province's decision to begin providing the service on P.E.I. later this year.
Premier Wade MacLauchlan announced Thursday a new hospital-based women's reproductive health centre will offer a number of services, including medical and surgical abortions, by the end of 2016.
"It was very frustrating," said a 26-year-old P.E.I. mother of one who has already had one abortion in Moncton, N.B., and is currently awaiting another. CBC News has agreed not to identify the woman.
Women have been denied a health care service that is their right to have in Canada.— Jackie Torrens
The woman told CBC News she was on medication that could affect the fetus when she became pregnant after her birth control failed. She said she tried to quit taking the medication and carry through with the pregnancy, but after severe withdrawal and low blood pressure, decided to terminate.
"I'm very happy that they've decided to finally get a women's clinic for P.E.I.," she said. "I think it's probably the best thing ever."
The travel to Moncton was a financial burden and an inconvenience, she added.
"Had the access been easier, it wouldn't have been so hard."
The woman said she is on a waiting list for a tubal ligation.
'Alone and very ashamed'
Jackie Torrens is a Canadian writer, actor and director and regular CBC contributor in her 40s who grew up on P.E.I. and now calls Halifax home.
"I feel ecstatic about it. I feel so happy," she said of the MacLauchlan government's announcement.
When Torrens became pregnant in the mid-1980s, she said her doctor told her she had no choice but to go through with the pregnancy.
"I couldn't do that, I was barely able to hold my own life together for myself," noting she was orphaned and living on her own in a boarding house at the time.
Torrens travelled from P.E.I. to Montreal to have an abortion at the Morgentaler clinic, something she calls a very scary and complicated process and a major financial hardship.
"I had to take four days off my fast food job. I wasn't making a lot of money then, so that was a very serious financial burden."
She also had to make up elaborate stories about why she suddenly needed four days away from work, Torrens said, as well as taking along someone to help her.
"It left me feeling very alone and very ashamed," she recalls. "I was scared out of my wits."
Torrens hopes the P.E.I. changes will begin to reverse "the stigma of shame around the realities of women and their reproductive lives".
Torrens said she is inspired by the work done by the pro-choice movement on P.E.I., calling the news a "tremendous victory."
"Women have been denied a health care service that is their right to have in Canada."
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- An earlier version of this story said Jackie Torrens is a mother of three. She is, in fact, a mother of one.Apr 01, 2016 11:49 AM AT
With files from Krystalle Ramlakhan