The 30-Year Fight for Abortion on Prince Edward Island
CBC journalist, and former Prince Edward Island resident, Kate McKenna sheds light on the long struggle to provide access to abortion on the Island in her new book, No Choice: The 30-Year Fight for Abortion on Prince Edward Island (Fernwood Publishing).
Abortion was made legal in Canada in 1969, and in 1988 a supreme court ruled that criminalizing abortion was unconstitutional. Despite this ruling, providing access to abortions was not constitutional. However, the procedure falls under Canada’s Health Care Act, which all provinces must deliver. PEI was the exception. McKenna tells us that in the book she illustrates how the influence of the Catholic Church and the Right to Life movement worked to lobby government officials, doctors and even to assume roles on hospital boards in order to prevent abortions from being made available to women on the Island.
McKenna introduces readers to the activists who fought for women’s rights and pro-choice, risking being ostracized and fired from their jobs, and who often paid to take women off the Island to Nova Scotia or New Brunswick to have the procedure performed.
Kate McKenna is a journalist with the CBC. She was a finalist for two Canadian Association of Journalism Awards and a silver medal winner of the Atlantic Journalism Award.