Statement of Vicki Saporta, President and CEO of the National Abortion Federation and the National Abortion Federation Canada
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Wednesday, May 28, 2014
202.667.5881; 202.595.4395 (after hours/cell)
I’m Vicki Saporta, President of the National Abortion Federation and the National Abortion Federation Canada. NAF is the professional association of abortion providers in North America. Our members include clinics, hospitals, and doctors who together care for more than 80% of the women who choose abortion each year in Canada. NAF Canada works to ensure that abortion is safe, legal, and accessible to promote health and justice for women.
We are here today because contrary to what Premier Robert Ghiz may think, the status quo is not working for women in Prince Edward Island. It’s not working for the more than one hundred and fifty women each year who have to travel out of province to access the abortion care they need. Care that would be available locally if they lived in any other province in the country.
Since 2008, NAF Canada has been operating a patient assistance fund to help women in Canada who otherwise slip through the cracks and need help accessing abortion care. Women in PEI like:
Bonnie* who called our toll-free Hotline earlier this year because she was unable to get an appointment at the closest hospital abortion provider in Halifax. Often, these appointments can be very difficult to obtain and women can face long waits. Bonnie was able to get an appointment at a clinic in Fredericton, but her provincial health insurance wouldn’t cover the procedure or her travel there. Through our patient assistance fund, we were able to help Bonnie obtain her abortion care.
Tonya* is a single mom of three who lives in PEI, and also received assistance from our fund. Like Bonnie, Tonya could only get an appointment at a private clinic in New Brunswick. Due to the distance, she had to stay in a hotel with her children the night before her appointment and couldn’t afford this extra expense.
The government in PEI has an obligation to provide abortion care for Bonnie and Tonya and other women in the province. It is long overdue that the provincial government fulfills this duty.
For too many years, we have been told that abortions aren’t available here because there isn’t a doctor willing to provide this care. But that simply is no longer true. We have identified at least three doctors who are willing to provide abortion care in PEI, including Dr. Robyn MacQuarrie who is a NAF member and here with us today.
We’ve also heard the government say that it would be too expensive to provide abortion care locally. Yet, we have developed a business proposal that demonstrates that the province would actually save on expenses by providing abortion care here.
This proposal to establish a termination service in PEI, was initiated by the Department of Health and developed in collaboration with them, and then submitted to the Medical Advisory Committee.
However, even though this plan would benefit women in PEI and be cost-positive for the province, it has not moved forward. We are here today to ask why. And to urge the provincial government to accept responsibility and begin providing abortion care at a local hospital.
Women in PEI deserve the same care and respect as women in other provinces when it comes to their ability to access the abortion care they need.
The National Abortion Federation (NAF) is the professional association of abortion providers in North America. Our mission is to ensure safe, legal, and accessible abortion care, which promotes health and justice for women. Our members include private and non-profit clinics, Planned Parenthood affiliates, women’s health centers, physicians’ offices, and hospitals who together care for more than half the women who choose abortion in the U.S. and Canada each year. Our members also include public hospitals and both public and private clinics in Mexico City and private clinics in Colombia.