By Jennifer Schouten
Why is it that certain special interest groups seek rights and privileges that the rest of us don't dare to dream of? After the so-called “Abortion Access Now” group announced they were taking the government of Prince Edward Island to court in order to force it to provide immediate access to publicly funded abortion on the Island, Supriya Dwivedi wrote in the Ottawa Sun that “women in Canada face horrendously unequal treatment, wholly dependent on geography.” Apparently a 2-hour drive to Moncton for an elective procedure is “horrendously” intolerable.
The legal action by Abortion Access Now, and the frenzied support of Ms. Dwivedi, shows that some Canadians are completely out of touch with the majority who understand and accept that, even with a top-notch health care system, not every single medical procedure will be available in every single area of the country.
Here is why I was quite properly annoyed by this outlandish demand. Three days into our annual winter vacation, my husband and I were sitting in an emergency room of a remote hospital in northern British Columbia waiting for a nurse to call a doctor out of bed to come look at our son. He was lying on a gurney, writhing in pain, while we waited anxiously for medical help.
After a series of tests, it was determined that he had a ruptured appendix and the infectious contents had abscessed in his lower abdomen. The doctor informed us that he required immediate surgery and, because there was no surgical team nearby, they had to fly him 684 kilometers to BC Children’s Hospital in Vancouver.
As we waited to be flown to Vancouver for life-saving treatment, the air ambulance was delayed because a patient with a head injury from Kamloops also required emergency evacuation, as they didn’t have a neurosurgeon available in that city. In two small British Columbia cities, holidays were cut short by medical emergencies requiring significant travel for necessary treatment. We waited our turn.
When I eventually arrived home from the hospital and found out that this group of PEI activists felt they were entitled to expanded access to abortion I was rightfully upset. In fact, I am tired of abortion advocates demanding all Canadians support their fabricated right to an abortion. The Morgentaler decision, which Ms. Dwivedi refers to throughout her diatribe, did not give women a right to abortion. The reality is that the Supreme Court judges recommended that Parliament take steps to protect the rights of pre-born children at some stage of pregnancy. That was twenty-eight years ago. It’s about time we did something about it.
There is no consensus among physicians’ groups that abortion is medically necessary. Yet, every Canadian province funds it, including PEI (the service is just not available on the island itself). In the face of truly necessary medical services, feminists have nothing to complain about. To quote Sarah MacDonald, provincial pro-life coordinator in PEI, “There is a great need in our province for medically necessary services, such as trauma care, cancer treatment, surgical care and more. Why aren’t these activists suing the government to increase access to these services?”
Our family’s vacation was cut short by a medical emergency requiring an unscheduled flight in an air ambulance to a distant hospital for immediate medical attention. We are not bitter, and we certainly aren’t demanding that surgical teams be established throughout northern B.C. for our convenience. Universal health care is a pillar of Canadian society and we are thankful to live in a country that takes the health of its citizens seriously.
The majority of Canadians understand and accept that, for our top-notch health system to work for everyone, not every single medical procedure can be available in every single area of the country.
By Jennifer Schouten, a proud mom and Canadian who doesn’t need the government to provide everything for her.