Nova Scotia

Group seeks to raise last $10,000 to buy ultrasound machine for abortion clinic

The Nova Scotia Women’s Choice Clinic doesn’t have an ultrasound machine on site. A support group hopes to raise $10,000 to change that.

Nova Scotia Women's Choice Clinic doesn't have an on-site ultrasound machine

A support group is trying to raise the last $10,000 needed to purchase an ultrasound machine for an abortion clinic in Halifax. (Mike Hutmacher/Associated Press)

A community group is trying to raise the final $10,000 needed to buy a $60,000 ultrasound machine in hopes of providing better care to women receiving abortion treatments in Nova Scotia.

The Nova Scotia Women's Choice Clinic, which is located at the QEII Health Sciences Centre in Halifax, doesn't have a machine on site, but the community group Supporters of the Nova Scotia Women's Choice Clinic wants to change that. 

The group is holding a fundraiser Thursday night at the Halifax headquarters of the Local Council of Women.

A private foundation has already donated $50,000 to the cause.

"Over the last six to 12 months, as access to abortion has become more visible in the media, it came to quite a few people's attention that the abortion clinic in Halifax didn't have its own ultrasound machine," said support group member Meghan Doherty.

An on-site machine would mean women wouldn't have to travel to other parts of the hospital for an ultrasound, Doherty said.

Mifegymiso is a pill that can be used to end pregnancies before the nine-week mark. (CBC)

"It will improve the timely access to abortion services that women need," she said.

Joyce Arthur, executive director of the Abortion Rights Coalition of Canada, said the need for an ultrasound machine "comes down to a basic standard of care."

"They deserve a lot of credit for going out there and raising this money when really it should be the Ministry of Health," she said.

Dr. Lianne Yoshida, co-director of the clinic, said in a press release that the lack of an ultrasound machine leads to delays and stress.

2 types of abortion treatments

There are two types of abortion treatments performed in Nova Scotia:

  • Surgical abortion, which involves an operation done in most cases with a local anesthetic.
  • Medical abortion, which involves taking the pill Mifegymiso.​

Mifegymiso can only be used before the nine-week mark to terminate a pregnancy. Surgical abortions can only be performed up to 15 weeks and five days.

The Nova Scotia Women's Choice Clinic is located at the QEII Health Sciences Centre in Halifax. (CBC)

Access to both treatments requires an ultrasound to rule out potential health risks and to date the pregnancy. 

The ultrasound used to date the duration of pregnancy will still be performed outside the clinic even with the addition of an on-site machine. The Nova Scotia Health Authority would not comment why that is the case.

Yoshida hopes that one day the clinic will be able to provide the dating ultrasounds. In the meantime, once the machine is acquired, it will be used for what she calls "bedside" ultrasounds. 

Women further along in their pregnancies, between 13 and 15 weeks, sometimes require bedside ultrasounds during treatment. 

At present, the clinic calls in a radiologist from another department in the hospital to perform the ultrasound, causing a delay in the abortion treatment.

About the Author

Jayde Tynes

Web writer/Reporter

Jayde Tynes is a reporter based out of Nova Scotia. She can be reached at jayde.tynes@cbc.ca.