Red her­rings on both sides?

The Guardian (Charlottetown) - - EDITORIAL -

I read with in­ter­est the Guardian Edi­to­rial en­ti­tled “P.E.I. govern­ment must con­cede on abor­tion is­sue.” In it, the Guardian sum­ma­rizes a court chal­lenge by Abor­tion Ac­cess Now P.E.I. in one sen­tence - “It’s a mat­ter of dis­crim­i­na­tion against Is­land women who face bar­ri­ers to re­pro­duc­tive health care ser­vices avail­able to women in ev­ery other prov­ince.” The Guardian fur­ther states (with­out ex­pla­na­tion) that this is a char­ter is­sue.

Sup­pose one were to sub­sti­tute the above phrase “re­pro­duc­tive health care ser­vices” with words de­scrib­ing a form of can­cer treat­ment or a type of heart surgery or a spe­cific med­i­cal test. Would it not also be true that peo­ple forced to travel off is­land are be­ing dis­crim­i­nated against be­cause they also face the same bar­ri­ers to a ser­vice avail­able to res­i­dents in ev­ery other prov­ince? Of course it’s true, but do they launch a court chal­lenge? No, they don’t. They rec­og­nize that Health P.E.I. is do­ing the best that they can with the re­sources they have avail­able. But think about this: In the very un­likely event that the cur­rent court chal­lenge is suc­cess­ful, how many new law suits would fol­low?

Dr. Colleen MacQuar­rie, dur­ing an in­ter­view on CBC’s Mar­itime Noon pro­gram shortly af­ter the court chal­lenge an­nounce­ment, was asked about th­ese other peo­ple be­ing forced to travel off is­land for var­i­ous med­i­cal pro­ce­dures. She sim­ply dis­missed the ques­tion by stat­ing that th­ese types of com­par­isons were “red her­rings.”

The Guardian in the same edi­to­rial sug­gested to Premier Wade MacLauch­lan that he shouldn’t “waste our time and money fight­ing a court ac­tion the prov­ince can­not win.” I, on the other hand, sug­gest that the court chal­lenge will be lost due to the red her­rings re­ferred to above, and it is Abor­tion Ac­cess Now who is wast­ing our time and money. Rolf Tom­lins, Mon­tague

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