Access to abortions in PEI

Women in Prince Edward Island who want to terminate their pregnancy have to go somewhere else to do it. There is no abortion service on the island, and the government has no plans for change. But a group of women in Prince Edward Island are lobbying for access to abortion.

Part Three of The Current

Access to abortions in PEI - Kandace Hagen / Colleen MacQuarrie

In Prince Edward Island, a group of women is advocating for something other Canadian women take for granted. PEI is the only province where legal abortions are not performed. Anyone wanting to terminate a pregnancy must travel off the island, typically to Fredericton or Halifax. We played a clip with what some people in Charlottetown had to say about this issue yesterday.

The provincial government in PEI will fund an abortion out of province but only if a woman has a referral from two doctors. The PEI Reproductive Rights Organization, is hoping to change that, by launching a campaign this week. Kandace Hagen is part of that group. And Colleen MacQuarrie is an Associate Professor in the Psychology Department of the University of Prince Edward Island. They were both in our studio in Charlottetown.

We did request an interview with PEI's Health minister Doug Currie, but his office said in an email:

There have not been any policy changes related to abortion services and this has not been an issue locally, so I don't think we have anything to add at this point.

However, last night at the provincial legislature, our CBC legislative reporter Brendan Elliot caught up with the minister. We aired part of his interview with Doug Currie.

CBC reporter Brendan Elliott has covered the legislature in PEI for 9 years, and says he can't recall abortion ever being an issue that the government or opposition has raised.

Access to abortions in PEI - Ann Marie Tomlins

Ann Marie Tomlins is a board member with the Prince Edward Island Right to Life Association. She was in Montague, PEI.

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Last Word - A Changing Moment

Was there a moment that transformed your life forever? As part of The Current's Game Changer Project,we're going to be exploring the game changing moments in people's lives. And we're looking for your help!!
We were inspired by a column written by New York Times writer David Brooks. He stumbled across a collection of short essays from Yale graduates of the class of 1942. On the occasion of their 50th reunion, alumni from that year were invited to write short autobiographies. He was surprised to find that so many of them pointed to a pivotal moment that changed their life for ever.
We suspect that a lot of people think about their lives in this way -- as divided into before and after. And we're interested in what causes profound change in a person's life.
Maybe it is something obvious -- whether negative or positive -- like a major car accident, falling in love, being diagnosed with cancer, becoming a parent.
Maybe it was a chance encounter with a stranger... someone who changed the way you look at things.
Maybe it was picking up an instrument for the first time, or discovering a dream job.
Maybe it was standing in front of a beautiful piece of art, or the time you walked by someone in need.
We are sure there are thousands of wonderful stories out there and we want to hear them.
If you've had an experience that was a turning point --- or Game Changer -- in your life, we want to hear from you. Please send us your stories and we're going to put some of them on air over the next few weeks.
So please send us your stories.

Other segments from today's show:

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