116 surgical abortions performed on P.E.I. so far this year, province says

Health PEI says 116 surgical abortions were completed between Jan. 31 to Oct. 31, based on statistics from Women’s Wellness Program.

Health PEI also announces abortion drug Mifegymiso free through the Women’s Wellness Centre

The abortion drug Mifegymiso is available for free through the program at the Prince County Hospital. Women wanting the drug outside of the program have to pay themselves. (CBC)

Health PEI says 116 surgical abortions were performed at the Prince County Hospital in Summerside between Jan. 31 to Oct. 31.

The statistics about the Women's Wellness Program, which provides a variety of reproductive and sexual health services to Islanders, were released Wednesday.

Health PEI also announced it is now offering the abortion drug Mifegymiso for free through the program at the Prince County Hospital.

"This increases reproductive choice and options for women on the Island," said Rachelle Pike, manager of the Women's Wellness Program and Sexual Health Services with Health PEI. 

"They do not have to leave the Island for a surgical abortion nor do they have to leave the Island for a medical abortion. With regards to reproductive rights and choice, it's exciting."

Women accessing Mifegymiso from their family doctor or a specialist will have to cover the $300 cost for the drug themselves.  

Rural wellness centres

The province is looking at making the drug available for free at new expanded women's wellness satellite centres in Souris, O'Leary and Alberton, so rural women have equal access to this treatment.

Women wanting Mifegymiso outside of the program have to pay the drug cost.

"Women should have as many options as possible when facing a difficult time in their lives, which is why we fully support steps taken to roll out access to the medical abortion pill in P.E.I.," said Jillian Kilfoil, executive director of Women's Network PEI.

Before 2017, P.E.I. was the only province that did not offer surgical abortions, though it would pay for the service off-Island. In 2016, the MacLauchlan government pledged to change that, and January of this year, abortion services were offered on P.E.I. for the first time since 1982.