As I pen these words an anniversary is upon us. A date in history that most of you will not remember. It’s probably a meaningless date to you, in a movement that sadly has to endure many distressing anniversaries.

But there’s one more I need to thrust upon you: January 23, 1986.

On that day 18-year old Erin Shannon paid the ultimate price for her abortion.

At this time of year, we can expect to hear the Canadian Abortion Rights Action League release their mindless poll about how abortion should be between a woman and her doctor.

The last year has seen an unprecedented number of abortion-related stories in Canada, many of which are calling for a national debate on abortion. I agree. It’s past time for such a debate … but doctors need not apply.

Why, you may ask? Erin Shannon provides the reason.

Erin had her abortion at 10:05 on the morning of January 23. She died at 10:55. She was admitted at 8:00 a.m. at Ottawa Civic Hospital. The nurse going through

the admission procedure noted that the abortion was listed as “approved;” that is, it was okayed by the local “therapeutic abortion committee.”

The problem is that the TAC did not meet until 10 that morning. At the coroner’s inquest, doctors and their lawyers scrambled like little cockroaches to try to explain their little procedural problem.


Erin had her abortion … and the TAC approved it after it had started. My, what wonderful adherence to the law of the land!

The Crown prosecutor in the case criticized hospital staff for “less-than-complete

candor” and for their “selective memories.”

All in all, the Laurel and Hardy routine exhibited by these fine upstanding doctors and their stooges on the TAC is reason number one why doctors should be left out of the abortion debate in Canada.

Other such stories horror stories exist. The therapeutic abortion committees that governed the law on abortion in this country was a sham. Doctors and medical staff lied, misled, falsified and ignored the law as it applied to abortion in Canada.

Thumbed its nose

We can’t trust them. I’m sorry if this bursts your bubble (especially in British Columbia, where such an activity is considered a crime) but the medical community in Canada thumbed their nose at abortion law in such a fashion that it’s no wonder everyone trembles when you mention legal euthanasia and the medical community in the same breath.

But it’s all part of our heritage, and these dates and anniversaries need to be remembered. When we debate the issues, when we talk about the events that shaped the abortion mentality of our culture, Erin Shannon needs to be part of the debate.

I don’t know what happened to the doctors involved. Perhaps they were led away in shackles, punished severely for their complete and utter contempt for the then law of the land. I’d like to think their were still languishing in jail. But we all know that didn’t happen.

As usual, the medical community in Canada is not accountable for its actions, or its violations. Embarrassed, perhaps. But not accountable.

Even more reason why abortion history needs to be recounted. Remembered. Pondered. Taught.

My own efforts on this can be seen on the Internet at

Clinic Watch will attempt to remember the rest of the story. The events and tragedies many would rather you forget or never hear of. But we need your help. There’s more stories out there and we need to compile them. There are more Erin Shannons out there.

We need to remember them.