The latest scheme by the Ontario Minister of Health to increase the number of abortions was unveiled in December. Health Minister Elinor Caplan announced that the province will spend $1.5 million to establish a giant abortion referral centre at Women’s College Hospital in Toronto.

The centre will be physically distinct from the rest of the hospital, located in a building across the street. Its purpose is not to perform abortions but to provide quick and easy appointments for abortions at five different hospitals in Toronto. The hospitals to which women will be referred will be Toronto General, Toronto Western, Mount Sinai and Wellesley as well as Women’s College.

Each of these hospitals is already a major abortion centre, performing hundreds of abortions each year. The move to increase the number of abortions at these sites is being seen as revealing the true nature of Liberal government policy.

“The Minister of Health may talk of equalizing access,” said Campaign Life Coalition’s Mary Ellen Douglas, “but when plans are made to make it even easier to get an abortion at one of Toronto’s abortion mills, then it is clear that the government simply believes in increasing the number of abortions.”

The centre at Women’s College will have a staff of some 45 health-care workers including doctors, nurses, and social workers. The hospital has long been an abortion centre and the acting President, Wendy Youens, has indicated her support for the Health Ministry’s plans Youens indicated that the centre would “streamline” operations and make “block bookings” possible. The centre will have its own therapeutic abortion committee, thereby removing the need to have the individual committee at each hospital review and approve the application.

Reaction to the proposal has been swift. The Ontario Catholic Bishops, who had previously been silent on the matter of the government’s intentions to widen access to abortion, made a public statement condemning the plans. Priests in various parts of the province were encouraged to read from their pulpits the statement issued by the bishops which stated “our conscience obliges us unceasingly to denounce and to oppose the taking of the lives of the innocent unborn.”

The controversy surrounding the Women’s College Hospital proposals follows the discovery in November that Peterborough Civic hospital had been proposed for a women’s health clinic as a means to increase abortions in that part of the province.

The story of pro-life protest in Peterborough shows no sign of abating. Before Christmas some 1500 pro-lifers participated in a rally protesting in a rally protesting the turning of Peterborough into an abortion capital.

With the health ministry anxious to spend money on abortion at least one Ontario hospital approached the Ministry in an attempt to receive increased funding. The administrators of Kingston General Hospital, where over 600 abortions are performed every year has asked the province for a grand of $100 000 to “improve” its existing abortion facilities.

The Province’s actions in Peterborough and Kingston have pro-lifers across the province watching local developments very closely. The Health Minister has acknowledged that some twelve hospitals in the province will the site of women’s health clinics as a means of increasing abortion access. So far, the only comment that hospital spokesmen have been willing to make is “no comment.”