Special to The Interim

Health Canada is investigating all Canadian provinces for supposed breaches of the Canada Health Act by allowing patients to pay for services at private medical clinics. The government agency forbids individuals from being charged a fee to obtain what Health Canada considers any “medically necessary” service. The Health Act explicitly gives provinces the authority to determine which services are medically necessary, but the government has been increasingly claiming that provincial power.

Abortions are one of several types of services which patients are paying for at private institutions and which the feds consider medically necessary, according to a secret document unearthed by the Globe and Mail. The document was obtained through the Access to Information Act.

“Abortion services are considered medically necessary insured services in all provinces and territories,” according to Health Canada spokeswoman Catherine Saunders, in an e-mail to “Our position is that insured health services should be covered by provincial and territorial health care insurance plans, whether they are provided in a public hospital or in any other facility providing hospital care. The Canada Health Act requires provincial and territorial health care insurance plans to cover all medically necessary hospital and physician services.”

The government has previously admitted that it is not aware of any studies proving that abortions are medically necessary. In testimony before the federal finance committee in 2002, the Canadian Abortion Rights Action League admitted that abortions are mostly committed for “socio-economic reasons.”

This article originally appeared on on Jan. 16.