Jane Doe 17

My story is not about the abortion I had 30+ years ago. I was living in another province then and had access to the procedure without barriers, in a timely manner, in a hospital with follow up care.

My story is about the women I have accompanied to the Morgentaler Clinic and those that did not get there because of barriers.  The women that could not get a Dr. referral for an ultrasound, or did not have the money to pay for the procedure.

I accompanied one young women to the Fredericton clinic after she was able to borrow the money for the abortion and travel expenses and lodging overnight.  The woman was to go to the clinic the night before and have a laminaria, return to her hotel room for the night then go back first thing in the morning for the procedure.  We arrived at the clinic, (the waiting room was full, I recognized a couple of women as being from PEI) that evening after getting the accommodations secured.  After a 45 minute wait she was called in.  A little while later someone came out and said the woman was requesting my company, the procedure was complete, she would need to stay and recover for a little while before traveling back to the motel.  The young woman said it was very painful, the laminaria was not done, they went ahead with the abortion.  Went the OK to go was given, she was some medication she was to take.  We stayed at the motel then headed back to PEI the next morning.  I heard from the woman a number of times in the next week or so, things did not seem right.  A trip to her Dr. confirmed something was amiss, she was sent to QEH and admitted to unit 4 maternity.  She had infection, her uterus was punctured during the procedure.

The OBGYN at the hospital said she would have a weak spot in her uterus and that could impact other pregnancies in the future.  This was not a light decision for this young woman, she made the decision based on the breakup of her long term relationship with her boyfriend.  She did not want to impact his future, her future or raise a child without enough education and finances.  If she was going to be a parent she wanted the child to have opportunity. The treatment received at QEH was varied depending on who she was dealing with, the OBGYN was very respectful, some of the nursing staff not as much.  I believe 100% that if this young woman had been able to access the abortion here on PEI, in the hospital her uterus would not have been punctured.  She is fortunate to have completed her education, secured good employment and married and has a couple of children that are well provided for and secure and happy.  A totally different outcome than what could have been.

The next woman was not able to get the ultra sound referral in a timely manner because she didn’t have a Dr. and was new to PEI.  Many people tried to help this woman, a volunteer organization tried to find a Dr., I spoke with the clinics and hospitals in nearby provinces to see if she could get the abortion without the ultrasound.  Fundraising (by discreet like minded women) was done to pull together some money.  The stress was mounting, the time getting shorter.  In the end that woman had the baby, time ran out for her. This resulted in her having to remain in PEI and co-parent with an abusive boyfriend. Before the baby was born she managed to qualify for financial support from the province, she did not qualify at the beginning because she had just moved to the island. That would not have happened if she had been able to access her legal medical right to an abortion.

There are so many others I could speak of but really the point is, PEI women are being denied medical treatment.  Treatment I was able access without barrier in another province 30 years ago.  It is time for this Government to step up.

Anonymous – PEI