On February 1, the PEI Supreme Court struck down the regulations by which the province pays only for those off-Island in-hospital abortions a screening board deems medically necessary – 4-10 women a year.
Justice David Jenkins said the regulations seem designed to thwart access to a basic health service, impose unnecessary and artificial requirements on women seeking abortion, and are outside the scope of the province’s authority.
Morgentaler claims his Halifax clinic alone does 120 abortions a year on Island women. He has been in a two-year battle to force the province to pay for them.
His Halifax clinic immediately billed the PEI government over $50,000 for abortions on Island women, and stated that bills will also be submitted from Fredericton, Montreal and Toronto clinics.
Morgentaler also urged Island doctors to start doing abortions immediately and bill the government.
When Health Minister Walter McEwen instructed his lawyers to ask the Supreme Court to stay the decision pending the outcome of an appeal, CARAL and The Advisory Council on the Status of Women ridiculed the move as a waste of taxpayers’ dollars.
In a press conference, Vincent MacIntyre, president of Right to Life, and Kim Dewar of Alliance for Life, noted that most Islanders “want to maintain the Island as a sanctuary where the sacredness of life is paramount.” They assured government that pro-lifers are ready to support them every step of the way in this ongoing battle.