Recently, nurses at Calgary Foothills Hospital broke rank to reveal that they are being forced to participate in – and sometimes actually perform – abortions. Joanne Hatton, the president of Alberta Pro-Life, said in an April 12 press release, “We have internal memos from the hospital which say that nurses must administer the drugs which induce labour, and deliver the baby. Nurses have been told that no one will be excluded from participating. This is choice? Nurses are forced to perform abortions and taxpayers are forced to pay for them.”

In addition, two babies were recently born alive following abortions at this same hospital and were left to die.

“This is barbaric,” Ms. Hatton continued. “One of these abortions was performed at 35 weeks’ gestation. The poor little baby lived for 12 hours without being fed. Police prosecute mothers who do that outside of the hospital. I wonder how many Albertans support paying for babies left to die in our hospitals?”

One of the nurses, calling herself “Catherine,” feared for her job but reported to writer Marnie Ko of Alberta Reportand Western Report newsmagazines, “Nurses were only allowed to rock and hold the suffering infant, but were not permitted to feed it following a genetic termination.”

Doctors told the mother that the baby had lethal genetic defects. Catherine saw only a baby and was sick for weeks after the August 1998 incident. The baby is supposed to die during intense labour caused by a chemical abortion. But not all do.

Genetic abortions have risen from one per month to one or two per week in the last six months. Foothills public affairs manager for acute care, Shirley Popadiuk, abruptly ended an interview with Ms. Ko when asked about the baby aborted last August. Ms. Popadiuk had insisted that abortions are not performed after 24 weeks’ gestation.

Catherine says, “They aren’t doing abortions after 24 weeks because they call it induction. It’s just semantics. Induction is abortion; the baby still dies no matter what it is called.”

Another nurse, “Sally,” told Ms. Ko that she was outraged by an administrative decision that forced post-partum nurses to care for women aborting imperfect babies.

“The present mood is chaotic, helpless, frustrated … highly emotional. I have witnessed tears, breakdowns, illness and stress such as never before … sick calls have been high … experienced staff are nearly impossible to recruit.”

Calgary Reform MP Jason Kenney has publicly called for a criminal investigation into the Foothills matter, and the Alberta College of Physicians and Surgeons has announced it will conduct its own review.