Ottawa to get free-standing abortion clinic

Ottawa may soon have its first fee-standing abortion clinic, but abortion activists in the city aren’t satisfied.

The Ottawa-Carleton District –Health Council voted unanimously on February 15th to ask the Ontario Health Ministry to issue a request for proposals for a women’s health center which would provide abortions, contraceptive services and other women’s health programs.  The addition of services other than abortion has angered those lobbying for an abortion clinic. They claim that the additional services could delay the establishment of the facility due to added planning and financial considerations.

The District Health Council opted for the comprehensive women’s health   center after receiving an abortion needs-assessment report authored by Dr. Marion Powell.  A well-known abortion clinic proponent, Powell concluded that Ottawa needs another abortion facility, in addition to the three hospitals which perform abortions at present.

Her findings were based on statistics from Morgentaler’s Toronto and Montreal clinics which estimated that 500 women leave Ottawa-Carleton each year to procure abortions.  As well, she believes that one of Ottawa’s busiest abortionists may retire within the year. Therefore, she estimates that 1,5000 women will seek abortions outside the region this year.

The issue of an Ottawa abortion clinic was   precipitated in June o 1991 by an unsolicited proposal to the Health Council by Morgentaler.  In February, 1992, an 8,000 name petition against a clinic was presented to the Council by Youth for Life and Campaign Life Coalition.

The additional services included in the Councils recommendation to the province could jeopardize Morgentaler’s bid to win the franchise. To date, his facilities have concentrated exclusively on abortion.

Pro-lifers in Ottawa say Powell’s recommendations ignored Ministry of health statistics showing that Ottawa hospitals performed abortions on nearly 500 women   from out side the Ottawa—Carleton reunion in 1991. But given her background,, they say they are not surprised by her confusions.

“As soon as we found out who was doing needs-assessment, we knew what the results would be, “said Carroll Rees, executive director of Action Life Ottawa

Campaign Life Coalition, Ottawa-Carlton spokesman Paul Lauzon was also not surprised by Powell’s report, or the Health Council’s decision.  “They bowed to pressure from the Ottawa from the Ottawa Task Group of Abortion Providers and Ottawa abortion activists.  Hiring Marion Powell ensured that the report would say that whey wanted to hear.”