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Halifax woman opening her home to P.E.I. women needing abortions

05/31/2015 08:11 EDT | Updated 05/31/2016 05:59 EDT
A Prince Edward Island woman now living in Halifax is opening her home to women from her province needing abortions in the city because the procedure is not available there.

Chelsey Buchanan posted on social media offering a room, food, bus tickets and transportation to the clinic. She hasn't had any requests for the room yet.

Buchanan said she was inspired to offer help after reading a blog where women were sharing their frustrations with the system.

"I was reading over it and I saw that so many women had travelled home afterwards, like after getting the procedure done and it was against doctor's orders," she said. "So I kind of figured there are a lot people out there that don't have the means to stay in Halifax overnight, and I mean I have space, so why not offer up what I have?"

P.E.I. is the only province in Canada where surgical abortions are not performed, but some doctors will provide a prescription for a medical abortion. The province pays for the service but not the cost of travel. A 2014 Health PEI report  indicated the government could have saved $37,000 a year by providing the service on the island. The report said about 153 women had to seek the service in 2013.

In her Facebook post, Buchanan said she and her boyfriend would respect the space people need while in town.

"This will be on a strictly no-questions-asked basis," said Buchanan in the post. "There will be no judgement. I will also not share with anyone that you are here, if this is something you would like to keep private."

Buchanan said she and her boyfriend travel regularly to and from P.E.I., so they're happy to provide transportation if their schedules align with people.

Not illegal to provide procedure

The reason for not offering abortions on the Island is unclear.

In 2014, the provincial health department cited economies of scale, noting that "Due to Prince Edward Island's size and population, it is not possible to provide every medical procedure within our province."

There is no law, policy or regulation in place to prevent abortions from being performed on P.E.I. and any qualified doctor on the Island could apply for operating room privileges to perform one.  However, a proposal to provide abortion service on the Island on a limited basis was nixed by Health Minister Doug Currie in 2014. 

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