The most dramatic of the three abortion cases that have hit the headlines in the Vancouver press during recent weeks concerns an unnamed father. Distraught because his girlfriend was having an abortion, he entered the Vancouver General Hospital, snatched some green hospital garb from the laundry and burst into the operating room to prevent his child from being killed. Unfortunately he chose the wrong room, but in any event he was too late. Police were called when the man, he remained in a very overwrought emotional state, refused to leave. No charges were laid.
Another father, Carl Harmes, took the legal route to try to preserve the life of his baby and he applied for an interim injunction to restrain his girl friend (whom he apparently wished to marry) from having an abortion. He is quoted as saying, “As an expectant father I must have some say in whether my child lives or dies.”
The injunction was not allowed, the judge’s reasons seeming to be that there was a time constraint which precluded sufficient time for “proper investigation into the merits of the case.” He added , “I have the view that those who wish to pursue this important social and philosophical question must find a way to bring the issue properly before the courts in a way that will permit a proper examination of all the factual and legal questions and one that does not require an answer to be given under the time constraints which exist here.”
The matter however, does not rest there. Mr. Harmes’ lawyer has asked the B.C. Minister of Health, James Neilsen, to investigate the case and to request from the doctors and hospital all documentation and reasons why an allegedly perfectly healthy woman was granted her application for an abortion He stated that “rubber-stamp” abortions for non-medical reasons bring the law of Canada and the Province into disrespect.
A headline, Sterilized in Error, directed the attention of Betty Green, president of Vancouver Right to Life Society to the third abortion sage. Dianne McKinnon went into Vancouver General Hospital for a “routine” abortion and woke up to find that she had also been sterilized, where upon she “cried and cried.” She has sued both the doctor and the hospital.
Ms. McKinnon is quoted in The Province June 4, 1985, as saying that she and her common-law husband decided on an abortion because “their eight month relationship needed more time to mature.”
In letters to the Regional Crown Counsel and the Vancouver Police Department, Betty Green has pointed out that Section 251 of the Criminal Code of Canada allows abortions only in those cases where a continuation of the pregnancy endangers a mother’s life or health. It says nothing about allowing a relationship more time to mature.
The police apparently have undertaken to review the case. We await further developments.