Northern B.C. woman almost unable to have an abortion due to lack of services
DAWSON CREEK -- Amber Zanon, a Terrace resident, was almost unable to get an abortion. Terminating a pregnancy is legal in B.C. and the province has promised to make abortions accessible but Zanon says a shortage of healthcare professionals and services in Northern B.C. is part of the problem.
“It just left me feeling confused and hurt and panicky,” says Zanon.
Zanon discovered she was pregnant in December 2015 despite having an inter uterus device. Since Zanon was using a contraceptive, she says she found out she was pregnant at 9 weeks instead of 6. Her doctor then told her she could only get an abortion before 12 weeks.
It then became a race against time.
“I was told yeah this is a viable pregnancy, as in not ectopic and the IUD is where it is, have a great day,” says Zanon.
She says she wasn’t given any information or support from her doctor.
“I was just feeling hurt that a doctor who had cared for me, I just, I didn't know the right questions to ask, I had never been in this situation before,” adds Zanon.
Feeling in the dark, she started calling clinics around Northern B.C., only to be told there were no appointments available. With continuous no’s and the lack of support from her doctor, she phones the nurses hotline where she says she was told to book an appointment in Vancouver.
“I had to pay a Christmas airfare to get to Vancouver, I had to pay for a hotel stay in Vancouver, I had to get myself to the appointment, by myself,” says Zanon.
She says the lack of healthcare workers and services in Northern B.C. needs to be fixed, she adds women and girls shouldn’t feel like they have nowhere to turn.
The MLA for Peace River South, Mike Bernier says people in Northern B.C. deserve these services and more needs to be done to recruit healthcare workers.
“The lack of specialty Physicians, Nurse Practitioners, Surgical Staff, you know, we are seeing so many people that are having to be turned away from our region to other parts of the Province in our area for some kind of specialty treatments,” says Bernier.
While Northern Health continues to try and recruit healthcare workers, they say it’s up to the Physician to decide whether they want to perform abortion services or not.
Zanon says her doctor isn't at blame. She says he did offer to remove her IUD and had his Medican Office Assistant call 2 seperate clinics looking. Although Zanon received the procedure, she says she is traumatized from the experience and hopes these barriers can be fixed for other women living in Northern B.C.
“It was the absolute fear and panic of thinking I was so alone and completely to fend for myself within a system I thought was designed to help me,” says Zanon.