Tighten abortion guidelines, say activists
The P.E.I. government is feeling pressure from both sides of the abortion debate, with pro-life activists saying they want access to the procedure made more difficult.
P.E.I. is the only province in the country that does not provide local access to abortion. The government will pay for the service, but Islanders have to travel to the mainland to have it done. The issue re-emerged earlier this month when a new group, the P.E.I. Reproductive Rights Organization, formed to lobby the government for on-Island services.
On Saturday, hundreds turned up at Province House in Charlottetown to rally on both sides of the issue.
Anne Marie Tomlins of the P.E.I. Right to Life Group said Islanders are getting too many abortions.
"We're not going to stop abortions at this time. They will continue to access it the way it is," said Tomlins.
"What we'll be after them to do is to tighten up their guidelines, because they had 78 abortions in 2009 that were paid for. There can't be 78 women with serious medical health conditions on this small island."
Kate McKenna of the P.E.I. Reproductive Rights Organization said, by opening up the dialogue, the group has already partly accomplished its goals.
"We all got together, we talked," said McKenna.
"People came up to me and told me they learned so much at the rally and that they had no idea what their rights were, no idea what their options were, which for me, really, at the end of the day, was the whole point."
Representative of both sides of the debate say they're going to meet with provincial officials this week.
Pro-choice supporters say if the government doesn't address their concerns on abortion rights this week, they might be taking this issue to court.