I’ll bet you didn’t know abortionists advertised their services.  They do — even in Ottawa where, according to the law of the land, abortion-on-demand is not legal.

On page 115 of the Ottawa telephone book’s Yellow Pages, under the heading “Birth Control Information Centres,” George G. Couch, M.D., advertises euphemistically for “Pregnancy Counselling.”  As Dr. Couch has his practice in Watertown, N.Y., I rather doubted that he was seeing Ottawa maternity patients for regular pre-natal appointments.  A telephone call to Dr. Couch confirmed the obvious.  For $300 (American) he performs abortions on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays; an appointment can be arranged on a weekend if absolutely necessary.  Total elapsed time in his office is one hour, during which time an educational film on abortion is shown, counselling is done, the “procedure” is performed, and a rest period is allowed.  Dr. Couch “sees” 15 or 20 patients a year from Canada.

The white pages listings of the Ottawa phone book contain a straightforward listing for another sector of the abortion industry.  “Abortion Information and Referral Services Company of Montreal” is listed on page 2.  When I called them (supposedly for a neighbour who would be surprised to learn she is pregnant!) I was told that if “my friend” were under 11 weeks pregnant the price would be $275 cash for a non-Quebec resident.  Lynne, the counsellor I spoke with, did not know if OHIP would reimburse this cost.  An examination would be done “to see if there are any diseases” followed by the 7-10 minute vacuum-aspiration abortion under local anesthesia.  I was told that a rest period of 15 minutes “is enough because under 11 weeks it’s nothing.”  The abortion would be done “by a licensed doctor, by the government” (my first clue that I was dealing with a CLSC, a local community health clinic).  “It’s legal,” I was told, “but it’s not like a hospital…in a hospital they want to know who and when and where, they ask a lot of questions…we don’t ask questions — it’s your choice whatever you want to do.”

Of course CLSC abortions are not “legal” under the Canadian Criminal Code; they are the result of the laissez-faire attitude on the part of the Quebec government who, having refused to prosecute Morgentaler, decided to get in the game themselves.  Lynne advised me to have “my friend” call her directly to determine the exact stage of the pregnancy.  I did not have the heart to ask what the procedure would be if she were more than 11 weeks pregnant.

The other abortion referral service listed, operating out of  Niagara Falls, N.Y., can no longer be reached at the phone number listed.

In British Columbia, pro-lifers have devised an excellent strategy for eliminating American abortionists from their telephone books.  The pages on which the abortionists advertise are removed from the telephone book and sent back to its publisher with a note explaining the objections of the householder.  As well, a letter can be sent to one or more of the other advertisers on that page, stating that since the page has been removed from the directory, their ad is no longer available for reference and potential business from that household has been lost.  This approach has been very effective in B.C., and some new phone books there do not contain previous abortion advertising.