01/19/2012 10:02 EST | Updated 03/20/2012 05:12 EDT

Premier 'hypocritical' says abortion coalition

P.E.I. Premier Robert Ghiz is hypocritical to be co-chairing a national committee on health-care innovation when he refuses to provide abortions on P.E.I., says the Abortion Rights Coalition of Canada.

Ghiz was named co-chair of a premiers health innovation working group at a premiers' conference earlier this week. In a news release, the abortion rights coalition said the appointment is inappropriate when P.E.I. refuses to provide abortions in the province, which it called a basic, medically required service.

"How hypocritical for the premier to accept this co-chair position," said coalition executive director Joyce Arthur.

"If his province won’t even provide basic healthcare services to its residents for ideological reasons, how can Ghiz be in a position to lead other provinces in improving their healthcare systems and delivery?”

Ghiz has said the province's policy on abortion will not be changing. The government will pay for hospital abortions on the mainland, but none will be performed on the Island.

The Abortion Rights Coalition says it can't see how Ghiz can innovate health care while he ignores the Canada Health Act and court decisions designed to give women easier access to abortions.