Vancouver Pro-Life Society President Betty Green was in Vernon just prior to the Vernon Jubilee Hospital Society Board elections to join other pro-life organizers in a massive advertising campaign to inform the public about abortion.  “Education is the main thrust of the current campaign to precede the hospital board elections, and pro-life supporters want an anti-abortion board to remain in power,” said Green.

“Women need to be shown that their own life need not be ‘ruined’ by the birth of the baby – that with a proper support, both can survive to enjoy healthy lives.  A better way to spend money now being used to destroy life through abortions, would be to create better social services, support sources and care facilities for pregnant women, to encourage women to prepare for unexpected motherhood and make a decision to carry to term,” she continued.

“Vernon Hospital, with 3,570 registered members in its society has the highest public involvement of any hospital in B.C.,” Green pointed out.  “Where there is the greatest amount of appointed-director control of hospitals, such as at Vancouver General Hospital where government appointees run the hospitals, the greatest number of abortions are performed.”

On September 16, the VJHS Board held its 90th annual general meeting and election.  Of the 3,570 eligible voters, a record 1,586 took part in the election.

The Nomination Committee, headed by Carolyn Machan, submitted the names of all three candidates, all of whom are pro-life  – Jake Spoor (incumbent trustee on the board since 1981), Brian Pattie and Maevene Peters.  Machan then accepted nominations from the floor.

The four nominees recommended from the floor were: Marnie Pearce-Gudeit, Dave Richards, Jane Evans and Don Warrington.  All four candidates favour a more liberal hospital policy on abortion.


The balloting ensued following brief speeches from each of the seven candidates.

The pro-life candidates topped the polls by a long shot, Spoor with 896 votes, Pattie with 870, and Peters with 867.  The closest pro-abortion candidate lagged 200 votes behind.

“I’m really quite gratified,” Spoor said after the meeting.  “I think they think the board has done a reasonably good job.  I think it’s clear that they have indicated what they want the board to do.”

“I feel the meeting was very democratic,” remarked Peters following her election.  “It was a well-behaved crowd that was here, and I appreciated the way everyone was able to calmly express what they were feeling, whether they were for or against a motion.”

Said Pattie, “I think it was a more than adequate polling of the community, there was more than ample opportunity for people to become involved.”

Disband the TAC

Prior to the election Jake Spoor said that if re-elected he would look into the possibility of disbanding the hospital Therapeutic Abortion Committee.  “Right now the committee isn’t functioning very well, and people have no faith in it,” he said.

A recent case, which hit the Vernon Daily News August 31, echoes Spoor’s concern.  The article, titled “Abortion Refusal was Intolerable Say Vernon Jubilee Hospital Doctors,” describes the case of a young woman who had been taking large doses of Vitamin A (Acutane) and, despite warnings of its potential foetal toxicity, became pregnant while taking oral contraceptives.  This news item purports that the TAC refused an abortion.  Jake Spoor says otherwise:

“The abortion request was not turned down.  The doctors sitting on the TAC felt they needed more information on the case, and they asked to meet with the physicians involved.  But, the two family practice doctors involved who had petitioned for an abortion, never showed up at the meeting.  Individual doctor-patient files were not open to the scrutiny of the board, and no doctors directly addressed their concerns to the board at the time.”

Playing politics

Instead, the family practice doctors by-passed the board and took their objection to the TAC’s decision to the press.  This seems to have been a political manoeuvre to stir people up and drum up emotional support a month prior to scheduled board elections.

Spoor suggested that “if they (the family practice doctors) were really concerned about the patient, and not playing politics, they should have come to the board meeting and stated their concerns tow months ago.  The TAC was upholding the law.  Nowhere in this case was it stated that there was a health risk to the mother’s health.  The law says nothing about allowing an abortion based on the condition of the foetus.”

“Either we have to communicate better with medical staff and make the committee work, with doctors willing to live within  the guidelines set by the board, or why otherwise have a TAC?” asks Spoor.