Prince Edward Island is the one Canadian province where in-hospital abortions are not available. The local chapter of the Canadian Abortion Rights Action League (CARAL), claims that this forces some 500 women a year to seek abortion outside the province.

There is, of course, no way to check on their figures. But if they are accurate, our population will soon be decimated.

Apparently determined that every taxpayer will share the cost and the guilt of providing abortion, CARAL has tried in many ways to force the PEI government to cover the costs of off-island abortions. So far they have had little success.

Current government policy is to pay only on in-hospital (off-island) abortions in quite restricted circumstances. As Barry MacMillan, executive director of the province’s Hospital and Health Services Commission points out, the island’s legislation requires government approval before any out-of-province medical service is provided.

Switching tactics, CARAL issued a news release this spring, noting that since abortion is a medical procedure, it can be claimed as a medical expense when filing income tax returns. The claim may be made by the woman herself or by her spouse, or by the person who claims her as a dependent.

Claimable expenses include any monies paid to a licensed physician for an abortion, including those done in clinics. If the procedure is not available in the woman’s own community, then other related costs such as transportation, accommodations, and meals may also be claimed, possibly not only for the woman, but for an accompanying individual as well, all at reasonable rates, of course.

Allowable medical expenses are not restricted to those incurred or paid in Canada, CARAL pointed out – good news for women “forced” to go to American clinics for their abortions.

Like all other claims for medical expenses, those for abortion-related costs must be supported by appropriate receipts.

Pro-lifers will immediately realize that this use of the income tax regulations is yet another CARAL strategy based on their favourite piece of propaganda: the claim that abortions is a medical necessity. It is another of those fault statements heard so often that it is widely accepted and rarely challenged.

Pro-lifers, of course, know that CARAL has always claimed that abortion is purely a private matter. They quickly recognize the inconsistency between that claim and this effort to make the general public pay for abortion through the portion of their tax dollars that go for health care.

Challenging CARAL’s propaganda and exposing this strategy is precisely that which pro-lifers must do. In our province, they have not yet done so.