A heavily-biased pro-abortion task force has called on the provincial government to provide more abortions throughout Ontario and to crack down on pro-life counseling and peaceful protest.
The report, issued December 18, recommends that the province leave no minority or disadvantaged group untouched. It calls for greater access to abortion among “young women, poor women, women with disabilities, women of colour and immigrant and refugee women.”
Minister of Health Frances Lankin said her ministry would act quickly on the recommendations of the Task Group of Abortion Service Providers.
“The report will be used as the basis of the government’s strategy on improving access to abortion services across the province,” she said in a press release.
The authors of the report make up a Who’s Who of the abortion industry in the province. They include Norma Scarborough, of the Canadian Abortion Rights Action League, Carolyn Egan, of the Ontario Coalition for Abortion Clinics and abortionist Nick Colodny. Wyn Kalagian, an official with Planned Parenthood and Marion Powell, of the Bay Centre for Birth Control as well as other abortionists also helped draft the report. There was no dissenting voice on the task force.
Pro-life leaders were quick to discount the report.
“It just goes to show how the NDP works,” said Campaign Life Coalition president Jim Hughes. “They want increased access to abortion so what do they do? They ask the most unobjective, one-sided group to draft recommendations and they try to make it seem to all the world that they have a mandate. It’s a lot like asking the National Rifle Association to draft recommendations on gun control – a complete farce.”
The report acknowledges the effectiveness of pro-life picketing. It says these tactics are “one of the main factors responsible for the shortage of abortion service providers. Not only are most physicians reluctant or unwilling to perform abortions, most are reluctant even to be trained,” the authors of the report say.
The task force calls for laws, as opposed to court orders, t o end pro-life picketing. It recommends “specific legislative options…to prohibit harassment at reproductive health care centres.” It favours a law over specific injunctions, such as the one that applies at Morgentaler’s, which it calls a “blunt and poorly focussed instrument.”
Hughes said the extreme nature of the recommendations is a sign that “they’re getting nervous. This report is a response to our efforts. The home and office pickets have worked extremely well all over the province, especially in Cambridge, Kingston, Windsor and London.”
Jakki Jeffs, executive director of Alliance for Life Ontario, said legislation restricting free speech would mean “democracy is dead in Ontario.”
“Where has democracy gone when the majority of Ontarians who oppose this abortion –on-demand mentality are no longer allowed to use their democratic right to freedom of speech and assembly in our province?” she asked.
The task force results are similar in nature to a report released in 1987 by Marion Powell which advocated increasing access to abortion throughout the province.
“Access” is the recurring theme throughout the report. However the more than 60 women and men working on the report for two years failed to show that even one Ontario woman seeking an abortion has been denied access.
There were 41,500 abortions in the province last year, 22 per cent higher than the national average and nearly one half of the national total. The task force says access isn’t just judged by high abortion numbers but also by the availability in every area of Ontario. It says the minimum model would be one “community clinic” and one “hospital-based women’s centre” in each major region.
The report makes no mention of costs to the taxpayer for the expansion of abortion services. The recommendations come in the context of restricted health care budgets, closure of active-treatment hospital beds and cuts in chronic care beds and other services for the elderly.
The Ministry of Health also recently decided not to fund a breast cancer facility for women in Burlington forcing it to shut its doors.
Spotlight on NDP Report
- I. Government Commitment and Co-ordination
- The top priority of the Ministry of Health must be to facilitate the expansion of services in the northwestern, northeaster and eastern regions, as well as southern Ontario.
- II. Current Provision of Abortion Services
- Improved training and financial and professional incentives must be implemented to encourage physicians to practice abortions.
- Quality and availability of hospital abortion services must improve.
- Establishment of community-based clinics.
- Government must ensure that all women seeking abortions are free from pro-life counseling and doctors are safe from pro-life picketing.
III. Accessibility and Expansion of Abortion Services
- Government must evaluate effectiveness of Independent Health Facilities Act and make any regulatory or policy change which will expand abortion services in Ontario.
- III. Toward Comprehensive Health Care
- Government must push for the legalization of RU-486 and other abortifacients. Community based clinics must be established to inform women on every type of available abortion service.