The October issue of HERizons, a Canadian women’s news magazine, has reprinted a letter soliciting donations to “The Issue of Choice” committee. The letter is signed by Charmion King., an actress; Dixie and Norman Jewison, he is well-known for his Hollywood films, including Fiddler on the Roof and A Soldier’s Story; and Charles Templeton, author and ex-evangelist.
The letter states that over $130,000 in legal bills, stemming from Morgentaler’s attempt to challenge the validity of the abortion law under the Charter, remains unpaid. It asks that supporters send generous (boxes to indicate amounts enclosed go up to $500) donations to cover these costs of the Morgentaler defense at his Toronto criminal trial.
To bolster the contention that Canada needs freestanding abortion clinics, the letter quotes 1982 Statistics Canada figures, which show 18 per cent of hospitals with Therapeutic Abortion Committees (TACs) did no abortions, and a further 31 per cent did fewer than 50 abortions that year. It omits to add that the total of abortions performed across Canada that year was 66,139 (Statistics Canada figure).
It goes on to say that Toronto General Hospital receives an average of 75 phone calls a day from women seeking abortions and actually books six. It does not add that 2,484 abortions were performed at Toronto General Hospital in 1982 (see April Interim), which has to mean a total of between nine and ten abortions daily if the clinic operates five days a week.
The reader also informed that the hospital TACs may refuse abortion requests due to “a narrow definition of the word ‘health’.” In other words, a hospital should apply the widest possible definition to the word “health.”
Federal and provincial laws are called “restrictive;” and “anti-choice lobbyists are highly-organized, well-funded and have mounted a strong campaign to erode the already inevitable, limited availability of abortion services,” according to King, Jewison and Templeton.
Canadian pro-abortion supporters are following the strategies adopted by their American colleagues in using public figures to solicit funds. The National Abortion Rights Action League’s latest fund-raising letter was signed by Joanne Woodward. Pro-life groups don’t tend to follow this example. Toronto Right to Life president, Laura McArthur, explained the possible reason for this in an interview with the Globe and Mail this summer. She told the reporter that pro-life supporters don’t seem to need such a glamorous incentive to support a worthy cause.