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P.E.I. abortion policy not led by health minister

11/07/2014 06:03 EST | Updated 01/07/2015 05:59 EST
P.E.I. Health Minister Doug Currie says the policy to maintain status quo and not allow abortions in the province is not his policy.

Last month investigation into documents received by CBC News through a freedom of information request revealed it was Currie that ended a Health PEI process into establishing an abortion clinic on the Island. According to a business case prepared by Health PEI that clinic would have saved the province money.

Currie avoided interviews on the subject for weeks, but on Thursday while speaking to CBC News on another issue, he was asked why he stopped the process.

“This is not a Doug Currie policy, I want to be clear on that,” said Currie.

"This is a position, a policy by government, and we've been working very hard with the Medical Society and Health PEI to make sure that Island women have good information to access the services.”

Currie was asked whether the policy came from the premier’s office.

“This is government policy and, as I say, I am the health minister and I have to respond and answer questions on policy that are related to my responsibilities, and I'll do that,” he said.

P.E.I. is the only province in the country that does not provide abortion services. It pays for the service, but women must travel out of province for the procedure covering their own expenses for the travel.

The government argues it is offering timely access to abortion and is meeting its needs under the Canada Health Act.

Currie said his department has made many efforts to improve access to abortion services on the mainland, including contracting with Maritime Bus, offering assistance to low-income patients, and posting information on the Health PEI website.

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