A pro-abortion pressure group, most of who are connected with the local community college in Sainte-Therese are fighting under the banner of “Libre-Choix” to contest the closing the abortion clinic at the town’s CLSC. However, Coalition Pour La Vie-Groulx, the group that succeeded in closing the clinic, have no intention of losing round two in the struggle.
Gillles Charron vice-president of Coalition for Life-Quebec, and a leading activist in the Sainte-Therese area, has circulated a kit of documentation to make pro-lifers fully aware of the many ways in which they can control the activities of such institutions, mainly by understanding the regulations under which they are set up and the complicated procedures for electing governing boards.
Mr. Charron also serves as the sole pro-life member of an ad hoc committee which has been set up to “de-polarize the local debate.” This committee will study the whole question of abortion practices and as Mr. Charron says, “It may affect the policies of the ten other CLSC now doing abortions.” He calls upon all pro-lifers and organizations that support pro-life policies to provide input to the committee on all relevant matters, particularly the moral, legal, and medical aspects of the question. The ad hoc committee derives its mandate from the administrative council of the CLSC to which it will report its findings at the end of its six-month term.
Elections to the governing boards of CLSCs are held in May each year and directors serve for a three-year term. Candidates are drawn from various different backgrounds. These differ from one CLSC to another, depending on such factors as the socio-economic mixture of the local population and other considerations.
Representatives of some socio-economic groups, are nominated to office by the Minister for Social Affairs. Professional, non-professional and volunteer workers each get their own representatives. The remainder, those open to public election, are drawn from the people who have used the facilities of the CLSC during the previous year. As in all Quebec, health institutions, the people qualified to vote in elections are those who have used the facilities during the year. Pro-life groups, because of these regulations and procedures, are faced with a much more difficult task in Quebec than elsewhere when they try to gain representation on the boards of health institutions, one of the most evident difficulties being that the list of qualified users is in the possession of the staff of the institution who can employ it to their own advantage.