Thursday, January 31

20 years after Morgentaler - PEI abortion information line disconnected

A 1-800 number giving women living on Prince Edward Island information on abortion has closed down due to lack of funding.

The number had been funded by the Canadian Abortion Rights Action League, but after that organization folded funding dried up. Anne Wheatley, who works in the Island's pro-choice movement, said the toll-free number had been operating for the past 15 years.

"Up until last fall we were receiving probably about five calls a month, just for information," said Wheatley.

P.E.I. doesn't offer any abortion services. Women must travel to the private Morgentaler clinic in Fredericton or the Queen Elizabeth II hospital in Halifax.

The provincial government will cover the cost of the procedure if it's done in hospital, and as long as a woman has been referred by two doctors. The government says it covers the cost of close to 50 abortions a year.

In 2006, Canadians for Choice initiated a comprehensive study that documented the accessibility of abortion services in Canadian hospitals. In April 2007, the findings of the research were released in a report entitled "Reality Check"

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