PEI

Abortions no longer need to be 'medically required' for P.E.I. to pay for them

P.E.I.'s minister of health is no longer legally required to determine if abortions are "medically required."

Change reflects current practice, says Department of Health

P.E.I.'s minister of health is no longer legally required to determine if abortions are "medically required" before the province will pay for them.

The stipulation was contained in regulations to the province's Health Services Payment Act, but it was removed effective June 6.

A spokesperson for the Department of Health explained in an email to CBC News that responsibility for payment approval for abortion services and all other off-island health services now rests with Health PEI, not the minister of health, and  the change in regulations simply reflects current practice.

The department also reiterated that Island women can obtain an abortion at the hospital in Moncton without requiring a referral from a P.E.I. doctor.

P.E.I. Health Minister Rob Henderson is no longer required by regulation to determine if abortions are legally necessary. (Province of P.E.I.)

"No referral is needed to access the service in Moncton. As for Halifax, Health PEI is engaged in the referral process and has outlined the criteria required for the service to be paid for by the authority," the email reads.

The province announced a year ago a new service that would allow P.E.I. women to get abortions in Moncton without a referral from an Island doctor.

The province announced in March it will open a reproductive health centre on P.E.I., where local abortions will be performed for the first time since the 1980s.

The government said it hoped to have the centre in place by the end of this year.

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