As he has done in other provinces, abortionist Henry Morgentaler has approached Alberta Health Minister Nancy Betkowski with an offer to train doctors to perform abortions and to advice on setting up a clinic in this province.

Morgentaler wrote the minister stating that an abortion “clinic” could be set up for $100,000 and the need for such a clinic exists in Alberta, according to Larry McLennan, health department spokesman.

But Mrs. Betkowski does not favor abortion clinics, and feels “access to abortion can be met through hospitals,” Mr. McLennan said. The minister is also concerned abortion clinics will charge user fees.

Pro-life leaders in Edmonton are not convinced Ms. Betkowski is as opposed to private abortion clinics as her recent public statements would indicate.

According to Susan McNeely, president of Campaign Life Coalition of Alberta, Ms. Metkowski has commented previously that the province will pay for abortions if done in clinics, and that as health minister she is unable to prevent the establishment of such facilities.

However, under the provincial Health Act, the minister has the authority to “say yea or nay to a clinic,” Mrs. McNeely pointed out.

Campaign Life is urging pro-lifers to write the minister, and is attempting to set up a meeting with Ms. Betkowski to reinforce their objections to an abortuary in Alberta.

Meanwhile, the threat of a Morgentaler abortuary in Edmonton remains a rumor and “We’ve been unable to substantiate anything,” Mrs. McNeely noted.

The Alberta College of Physicians and Surgeons maintains that abortions up to 12 weeks can “be safely done in non-hospital surgical facilities,” according to president Dr. Barry Olhauser.

Sheila Dollard of Direct Action for Life of Edmonton said “There are people willing to go to jail to keep Morgentaler and his clinic out.” She predicted a strengthening of the rescue movement in Alberta should an abortuary be established.