Re: "Well, actually did you know that the government of Prince Edward Island refuse to allow their hospitals or clinics to provide for abortion? But to comply with the law, Prince Edward Island paid for abortions to be carried out in other provinces and built a bridge to the main land for access to abortion."
Actually, the Confederation Bridge was not built just for that reason - or were you making a joke, lol I know a pro choice web site wrote that in jest in their history, lol One could WISH that the mostly male legislators on the Island thought of that but alas, that was not their raison d'etre and I won't bore you with the complex deals to finally have it built between my home province and PEI.
PEI stands out because it is so small - but women do come to our hospital in Halifax for abortions from PEI. Getting them covered by Medicare mind you is another problem again. So it is not that abortion is illegal in Canada, it is is simply that it is covered differently by every health care plan. Elenr Wright Perline's book "Abortion in Canada" provides a good overview of the subject.
NB also is problematic - there are eight hospitals in the province that do not provide abortions at all and those that do have a complex and bueaucratic process that would frustrate even the most astute and determined civil litagator. Henry Morgantaler's Clinic in Fredericton is not covered by Medicare but they do (so I understand) try to accomodate women with limited means.
The history of our abortion laws has always intriged me. In the seventies, when abortion was legal (abortion on demand was available in several US states, New York included) in many states, it was still very difficult to obtain in Canada. At the time, I co-authored a policy paper that noted that of the two extremes (abotion as a capital offense - for which death was one pubishment (Zanzibar and certain Arab countries) and abortion on demand - available in the aforementioned States), On a continuim of 1-7, Canada was a 3 - abortion was legal only if a woman's life was in danger. The problem was the interpretation of the law. More progressive doctors and the hospitals where they enjoyed privelages often cited psychiatric reasons as reason enough. Most hospitals required very explicit physical illnesses which has to labourously outlined (no pun intended!) in triplicate before a hearing of a hospital's abortion committee - which a woman's doctor was not permitted to sit on. (And it goes without saying there were fewer women in medicine!!). Many Roman Catholic doctors had no committee and provincial govts were hesitant to mandate one.
Morgantaler stands out in his opposition to the law of course and his defiance of the "new and improved" bill passed in 1969 (the previous one made it a crime), ended up in court - and he also spent 10 months in jail. He went to jail for performing abortions in his office, rather than having women go thru the hassle with hospitals. (He was always aquitted too but right wing Jugdes overturned the verdicts of the Jury). He took his fight to Ontario and challenged that provincial govt and was aquitted but on appeal to the Supreme Court by Ontario, the case was upheld and in 1988, Canada's abortion law was declared unconstitutional.
In spite of the decision's noble language, the Supreme Court actually encouraged the government to create a new, "improved" law against abortion. A year later, the government introduced a bill making doctors fully responsible for the abortion decision, with a two-year jail term as punishment if the woman's health was not at risk. While the bill was being debated and fought over, close to 100 doctors quit performing abortions, and another 275 promised to quit if the bill passed. The bill was passed in the House of Commons, but when it went to the Senate, it was defeated there by a tie vote.
Thus, the govt opted not to reintroduce the law and thus there is in effect none. The result is Canada has the lowest maternal mortality rate in the world for early abortions. Even though there's no gestational limits in Canada, over 90% of abortions are done in the first trimester, only 2-3% are done after 16 weeks, and no doctor does abortions past 20 or 21 weeks except for compelling health or genetic reasons.
Abortion access is closely tied to hospital funding. Nearly 2/3 of all abortions in Canada are performed in hospitals, although that number decreases every year. Hospital abortions are more common simply because the federal government pays for them. Provincial governments are required to fund abortions in clinics, but some don't. Two provinces provide only partial funding to clinics (Quebec and Nova Scotia), and two refuse to pay a penny (New Brunswick and Manitoba). The Nova Scotia government is so stubborn on this issue, they prefer to pay $130,000 a year in penalties to the federal government rather than pay for a poor woman's abortion. And across the country, only 1/3 of hospitals even DO abortions!
Anyay - sorry to be so long winded. I doubt we will follow the US lead - or is it decline - esp with a minority govt and the NDP holding the balance of power tho they lost a seat this week.