Abortion barriers still exist in Sask. 25 years after historic ruling
Monday marks 25 years since the Supreme Court of Canada struck down the country's abortion law, but in Saskatchewan access to the procedure remains uneven.
Abortions are only performed in two cities in the province, Saskatoon and Regina.
Women who choose to go to Saskatoon have to make two trips — one to see the doctor, and the other for the procedure itself.
Evelyn Reisner, who runs Saskatoon's Sexual Health Centre (formerly known as Planned Parenthood), is working to change the two-visit requirement.
"We work very closely with the doctors," said Reisner. "And have very good relationships with the doctors, and a lot of the doctors are quite happy about this idea."
Still, when it comes to access to abortion, doctors remain the gatekeepers.
According to Reisner women depend on a few willing doctors.
"I had a call last week of a woman whose doctor told her that if she chose to terminate a pregnancy the doctor would refuse to be her doctor anymore," said Reisner.
First abortion clinic in Canada in Quebec
Dr. Henry Morgentaler broke the country's existing abortion laws in 1969 and opened the country's first abortion clinic. At the time, abortion was only legal if a committee of doctors signed off that it was necessary for the physical or mental well-being of the mother and the procedure was performed in a hospital.
The Montreal doctor became one of Canada's most controversial figures.
During the next two decades Morgentaler was assaulted, arrested, jailed.
In 1988 the Supreme Court of Canada granted him victory and declared the country's abortion law unconstitutional. Canada is now one of only a few countries with no legal restrictions on abortion.