Prince Edward Island is the only province in Canada where a woman cannot get an
abortion. It is not that the government won’t fund them, but they don’t support them either. The process that a woman must follow in order to have Medicare pay for the procedure is to see two doctors, and then drive to Nova Scotia or New Brunswick. The cost for the drive is at least $100 for gas and tolls, and that doesn’t include the cost of a hotel, a necessity as the drive both ways in one day is tiring at the best of times, not does that include the cost of food. The minimum cost for an abortion is over $200, and probably closer to $300. If you have the money, and don’t need the Medicare to pay, you can visit a private clinic; a trip that would cost the same, plus the cost of the procedure. This seriously impairs the ability of lower income women to have access to abortion.
PEI is a very conservative province–we were the last to allow same-sex marriage and Sunday shopping was only implemented your round at the start of 2011. Thus politicians, and even individual doctors, are fearful for their careers if they support women’s rights on abortion.
A young women from Charlottetown, Kandace Hagen, has almost single-handedly brought this back into the news in the few months. Now she has been nominated for a $1,000 award sponsored by the Government of Canada provided through the Canadian International Development Agency, and the Atlantic Council for International Cooperation. The details of the campaign are here.
This is a vote driven process, and currently Kandace is in second place. She was leading until a local ‘pro-life’ group started to publicize the event and encourage supporters to vote for someone, anyone else. There is no registration required to vote, all you need to do is pledge to do something to support the cause of the candidate. Personally, I pledged to blog, as I have in the past, in the support of women’s rights. Others have simply pledged to support the work for her organization, PEI Reproductive Rights Organization (PRRO).
Show your support for Ms. Hagen and her fight for women’s rights here on PEI by adding your pledge here.