N.S. minister looks to improve abortion access, calling province 'out of step'

Nova Scotia's health minister says abortion access in the province is ``out of step'' with current practices, and has asked health officials to find ways to improve it.

Randy Delorey says women and advocates have raised important issues about access and it's the first time that the issue has been brought to the government's attention.

He says in a statement he has asked staff at the Nova Scotia Health Authority and the Health Department to look into the concerns and report back on how to improve access.

Delorey says he understands practices have evolved over time and Nova Scotia is out of step with other provinces.

Delorey's statement came after The Canadian Press reported on barriers to abortion access in Nova Scotia, which is the only province requiring a referral for an abortion. As well, there are long wait times for the time-sensitive procedure and no provincial coverage for medical abortions using pills.

Women are also being forced to wait to obtain abortions in part because the hospital-based clinic that performs nearly 90 per cent of procedures in the province doesn't have an ultrasound machine.