Ontario Knights of Columbus, attending their 87th Annual Meeting in Toronto on May 18-21, voted down a resolution that would have compelled K of C Councils to withhold financial support to any hospital that does abortions.

Over six hundred voting delegates representing Councils from all over Ontario voted to reject the resolution by a show of hands. Before debate on the resolution commenced, it was announced that the Resolutions Committee of the Ontario State Board had also voted in favour of rejecting it.

Earlier the delegates approved a resolution approved a resolution that Knight donations were to be earmarked for non-abortion procedures in hospitals that otherwise did abortions.

This is what Councils who donate to hospitals have been doing in the past. For example, a few years ago the John F. Kennedy Council donated $100,000 to the Milton District Hospital. This hospital reported doing 89 abortions in 1987, the last year for which figures are available. In this case, the Council specified that funds were to be spent in the pediatrics area only.

Delegates argued that hospitals are a community need involved in numerous life-saving capacities and thus are worthy of Knights of Columbus support even if they do abortions. Another delegate said that he had it in writing that the hospital would not use the Council funds for abortions.

Other delegates, however, argued that all K of C funding of hospitals does is to free funds that can then be spent facilitating abortions.

A Cornwall delegate explained that their Council only gives financial support to the local “Hotel Dieu Hospital” because it does not do abortions. This Council rejects financing local hospitals which do them.

Dr. Jack Dunphy, M.D., a member of North York Council 4393 that introduced the resolution, told The Interim that he was shocked about the defeat of the resolution. He described the action as “wimp-like” when it came to the opportunity to demonstrate strong disapproval of abortion.

Dr. Dunphy stated that it was impossible to assign funds for non-abortion procedures. There is no such thing as “water-tight compartments” in the hospital financing structure, he said. Hospitals are run mostly by administrators, he noted, who have complete authority to spend funds of the General Account for any “legitimate” purpose. Even if hospitals had set up an account for “Knights of Columbus funds for non-abortion purposes,” they would have no scruples about “borrowing” from it for any purpose they saw fit.

Contacted later, Mr. Jim Hughes, President of Campaign Life Coalition and a Knight himself said that the voting delegates should have remembered that the late Archbishop Pocock took the Catholic community out of the United Way twenty years ago because the organization obstinately continued to fund an abortion referral agency. Archbishop Pocock ignored pleas about the other good works that the United Way does and created Share Life.