When federal Health Minister Diane Marleau announced last month that she will soon crack down on provinces that allow private clinics to extra-bill for medical services covered by Medicare, her threat was primarily aimed at Ralph Klein’s lean-and-mean Alberta.

Canada’s abortion entrepreneurs quickly realized however, that they were likely to be swept up in Marleau’s attempt to clean out violators of the Canada Health Act.  According to Montreal’s The Gazette, a federal Health Department official claims at least five private clinics – all of them in the abortion trade – are currently in violation.

In Quebec, as in other provinces, the Quebec Health Insurance Board pays for abortion procedures.  But $145 is not the stuff of BMWs and Westmount mansions.  Unlike Ontario and British Columbia, abortionists’ fees for counseling, nurses, office overhead and security are not covered by the province.  As a result, abortionists charge between $175 and $500 extra for services rendered.  This is a practice which is not tolerated except with this special class of operators.

At the private clinic where I take my children, for example, we may be charged an occasional $10 for a vaccine or strep test, which is not covered by Medicare.  We have never been charged a supplement to cover the expense of an office, a nurse or counseling, all of which are provided as a normal practice.  For the physicians, it is part of their cost of doing business.

A spokesperson for the Morgentaler Clinic, which acknowledges performing 1500 to 2000 abortions per year, estimates they charge about $700,000 annually in “facility fees.”  The director of another abortion mill estimates that his facility collects about $600,000.  So we won’t be holding any telethons for Henry and Co. any time soon.

That the Health Minister should only now threaten to take action after decades of abuse is uninspiring.  Indeed, your intrepid correspondent reported on these irregularities back in 1981.  The current situation stems from the notorious Morgentaler trials.  Whilst Henry languished in “prison” at the Mount Royal Villa, a nursing home just blocks from his residence (due to a pre-heart-attack condition”), the Parti Qubecois came to power and promptly pardoned him.  They also promised to end any prosecution of abortionists in la belle province.

In due course, these practitioners crawled out from under their rocks, and illuminated signs were posted out-side of their establishments: “Interruption de Grossesse.”  Emboldened by the government’s position, abortionists began submitting bills to the provincial health insurance board even though at that time only hospital abortions were permitted under Canadian law, and those had to be approved by committee.

As we all know, the law is a farce, nevertheless, in Quebec it was completely ignored.  Quebec Medicare did indeed pay for these illegal non-hospital abortions, and the abortionists continued to charge a cash fee as well. Because abortion is such a sacred cow, it is hard to imagine a scenario where these predators will have to make do on Medicare payments.  On the other hand, if the province caves in, it will open the floodgates to other private clinics and group practices that will seek similar compensation for their overhead costs.

In the meantime, we can look forward to a certain camera-loving opportunist decrying how many cash-carrying “poor” women are being denied reproductive choice, even as he has his hands out for more tax dollars.

It should prove to be a most interesting lesson on reproductive altruism.