03/25/2015 04:36 EDT | Updated 05/25/2015 05:59 EDT

Quebec Premier Philippe Couillard Says He Won't Restrict Abortion Access


QUEBEC - The Quebec government will not limit access to abortion clinics, Premier Philippe Couillard repeated several times on Wednesday.

Montreal Le Devoir reported that quotas would be imposed on doctors under proposed legislation and could possibly lead to the closure of some abortion clinics.

It cited a ministerial working document that indicated abortion would not be considered a medical priority.

But Couillard told the national assembly Bill 20 would actually increase access to health services, including abortion.

"There is absolutely no question of limiting in any way — directly or indirectly — access by Quebec women to abortions," the premier said.

"It's the result of a long battle, it's a part of our society that we will not change.''

A Montreal women's health centre said it interpreted a draft regulation in the bill to mean that Health Minister Gaetan Barrette intends to limit the number of abortions practised by Quebec doctors.

But Barrette told reporters that was an erroneous interpretation and that access to abortion will not be restricted.

Couillard also pointed out that the regulation would be the subject of consultations and people will have a chance to voice their opinion.

There were 25,899 abortions in Quebec in 2011-12.

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