Taxpayers to foot the half million a year bill

Ottawa will be the site of Ontario’s newest free-standing abortion facility and Henry Morgentaler will in all probability be its operator.  The news comes as no surprise to Eastern Ontario pro-lifers who have been fighting the establishment of an abortion clinic there for nearly two years.

Ontario Health Minister Ruth Grieg announced July 9 that she is seeking proposals for the first free-standing abortion clinic in the province outside the city of Toronto.  Morgentaler announced his bid for the clinic the next day.

In fact, Morgentaler presented the Ottawa District Health Council with an unsolicited proposal to set up an abortion clinic in the fall of 1991.  In February 1992, Campaign Life Coalition in conjunction with Youth for Life, presented an 8,000 name petition to the DHC against the establishment of any free-standing abortion facility.

The petition appears to have been ignored, as the DHC proceeded to ask the Ontario Ministry of Health for a needs assessment of abortion services in Eastern Ontario.  Marion Powell, an outspoken abortion advocate, was appointed chief consultant on the project in November 1992.

Powell’s February 1993 report concluded that an abortion facility serving 1,500 Eastern Ontario women per year was needed in Ottawa.  In addition to an immediate request for proposals for such a facility, Powell made a number of other recommendations which were identical to those of the December 1992 report of the Ontario Task Group of Abortion Service Providers, of which she was a member.  These further recommendations included a request for an immediate injunction to “stop harassment of hospitals, physicians and other abortion service providers.”  The same request was made by the Task Group.

The Ottawa DHC voted unanimously to ask the province to act on Powell’s recommendations.

Ottawa area pro-lifers say they knew the clinic was a foregone conclusion when they learned that Marion Powell was the needs assessment consultant.  Powell used Morgentaler as a key source of statistics and other information, and CARAL (Canadian Rights Action League).  Planned Parenthood and the Ottawa Pro-Choice Network were consulted as “community-based agencies.”

Campaign Life Coalition Ottawa-Carleton wrote to the Ottawa DHC before its unanimous endorsement of Powell’s pro-abortion bias, and reminding them also of the 8,000 name petition against a free-standing abortion clinic.  In addition, CLC Ottawa-Carleton stressed the need to spend diminishing health-care dollars to enhance the well-being of women and their children, rather than to create another facility where healthy women can kill healthy babies.  The group did not receive the favour of a reply from the DHC.

Carroll Rees, executive director of Action Life Ottawa, says it is deplorable that the government would deny sick people necessary health care while funding an abortion clinic.

The province will provide up to $500,000 a year for the clinic, which will likely open in early 1994.