In September 1993, at a Seattle Wash., seminar put on the National Abortion Federation, Australian abortionist David Grundmann stated, “Abortion is still a very fringe-type practise. There aren’t a lot of people who want to get into abortion provision. And the ones that we do have applying to us for training often have very dodgy histories and backgrounds. And if you dig deep enough, you’ll find a death or two or a malpractise suit or a de-registration somewhere along the line. It’s very difficult to get good doctors that are committed and want to get involved in abortion provision.”

Readers of my column have heard my lament on the new abortion “services” that are being offered in our local hospital. I am not the only one. It seems there are decent folks out there who also grieve over “increased access” to a procedure once reserved for the dregs of the medical profession.

I’m told there are now three doctors who work at Kelowna’s new state-of-the-art abortion mill. The three upstanding medical specialists take turns working at Kelowna General, on Tuesdays.

They all have aliases. That is, their names are known only to a select few. Their “code names” are the names of Okanagan Valley wines.

How’s that for irony.

One wonders if the powers that be watched one too many James Bond movies. (At least Bond never ripped a baby out of someone’s womb.)

It seems only fitting then, that alcohol is the drink of choice when these poor souls need to comfort each other under the cloak of anonymity.

Imagine, going to medical school for years and years, all so you can show up at the local hospital, with your special agent Cluck Rogers decoder ring, sign in as Doctor Merlot, and be whisked away to your fortress on the fifth floor, safe in the knowledge that no one, not even your spouse, knows the grizzly trade you set your scalpel to.

Ah, this is the life.

Dr. Susan Conde, writing in the Oct. 19, 1994 New York Times, said: “I observed during my medical training as an Australian physician many abortions by experienced practitioners. They experienced, without exception, physical revulsion and moral bewilderment.”

You see, alcohol dulls the pain and the conscience. What young teenage girl hasn’t been warned to stay away from young teenage boys who drink? There is a common knowledge that alcohol covers a multitude of sins – and contributes to them as well.

So it is entirely fitting and proper that Kelowna physicians cover for their new abortion partners, using the name of alcoholic drinks.

Dr. Merlot, call your office. I guess it gives new meaning to the term alcohol abuse.

There is another probable reason why it’s easier to learn the names of Okanagan wines than it is your local abortionists. They desperately need to hide from their colleagues.

Indeed, Dr. Richard Hausknecht, writing in the Jan. 18, 1998 New York Times Magazine said: “It’s true that abortion providers are perceived as not very good doctors – that they have no alternative so they do abortions, that they cannot earn a living any other way.”

So there you have it. The chances are good that dear Dr Merlot is Dr. Merlot because he doesn’t want any of his colleagues to know his identity. And how is that for a career move? Hiding your identity from the public is one thing, but from your fellow physicians?

As I said before, alcohol deadens the pain, and the conscience.