Dauphin, Manitoba. In December 1990, the newly elected feminist Mayor, Virginia Jamieson, refused to declare a Respect for Life Week.
This deliberate gesture of contempt led Dauphin pro-lifers to take another look at their town.
On February 27, 1991, the Board of Dauphin’s General Hospital voted to prohibit abortions unless a committee of three doctors determined the woman’s health was in danger. Dauphin, with a population just short of 10,000, is one of the few communities in rural Manitoba doing abortions.
Restricted as the decision was, it brought out the pro-abortionists: The Winnipeg Free Press, Morgentaler champion Ellen Kruger, and Winnipeg lawyer Jack London, a former law professor and a regular on the CBC’s pro-abortion team.
Local pro-abortionists, who were taken by surprise, sputtered in anger. Dr. Garnet Warrian, chief of staff, for example, threatened to resign. And Debbie Sorochynski, former hospital auxiliary president who claims to be neither pro-life nor ‘pro-choice,’ came down firmly on the pro-abortion side, as people who claim to be neutral always do.
On the other hand, Iris Yawney, president of the local Parkland League for Life organization, pointed out “if we continue to permit abortion, we’ll destroy our society.”
“We are confident that we as board members are an accurate reflection of the community at large and the doctors disagree vehemently with us on that,” hospital board member R.J. Mackenzie said (Christian Week, April 2)
But today, according to the Ottawa Citizen (April 10) “this quiet town in the shadow of Riding Mountain National Park has become the latest flashpoint on Canada’s abortion battlefront, complete with skirmishes, small victories, sudden retreats and casualties.”
At the end of March, hospital trustees decided to hold a plebiscite on the issue for May 30. Before that the doctors unsuccessfully tried to rescind the ban, after which they withdrew their representatives from all hospital committees. The argument now is that the board had made a medical decision unilaterally without consultation with medical staff.
As for the plebiscite, Mrs. Yawney put her finger on the essential issue when she said, “I am very concerned about us putting this to a vote. It’s a moral issue, it’s not an issue about paving this street or that one.”