Interim StaffIn an effort to pressure the Manitoba provincial government to fund abortions in private facilities, a group of Winnipeg women are turning “Jane’s Clinic” – formerly Henry Morgentaler’s Winnipeg abortuary – into a non-profit facility. Meanwhile, they will continue Morgentaler’s crusade to pressure the provincial government to fund his abortion business, even as the province considers establishing a new “women’s health” clinic.

The move to a non-profit facility is being viewed by skeptics as a stunt to get taxpayer money to pay for abortions done outside hospitals. Currently, the Manitoba government only pays for abortions committed in hospitals. Morgentaler has fought with both NDP and Progressive Conservative governments to get them to pay for women’s abortions done at his Corydon Street facility.

Maria Slykerman, president of CLC Manitoba, told The Interim that she is unsure about the current ownership situation and wonders if the woman-led effort to turn the abortuary into a non-profit outfit is little more than a gimmick to get taxpayer funding.

She wonders about the economic viability of the abortuary. In recent years, during regular once-a-week pickets, Slykerman reported seeing fewer women going into the facility.

Meanwhile, there are rumours that the Manitoba NDP government of Gary Doer is interested in building a “super clinic” that would provide “comprehensive women’s health services,” including “sexual health” counselling and abortions.

Slykerman said that if the super clinic becomes a reality, it would be “very bad for business” for the Morgentaler/Jane’s abortuary. Women are more likely to go to a facility that is covered by the province than a place where they have to pay out of their own pocket. “We hope the Manitoba government will not be foolish enough to pay for it with our tax dollars.”