Red herrings on both sides?
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