Queen’s Park, Toronto
Ontario Premier Bob Rae’s office claimed they had never seen the letter from the Ontario Conference of Catholic Bishops (OCCB), urging the NDP government to reconsider its new policy of providing easier access to killing of the unborn.
The letter from the president of the OCCB, Bishop John O’Mara, was dated November 19, 1990. It was reported in a front-page story in the December 15 issue of the Catholic Register.
In response to an Interim enquiry of December 13, a communications source said that Rae receives “a lot of correspondence daily” and it is all screened by a “correspondent committee.” Letters deemed important are forwarded to his attention.
When asked what the chances were of Mr. Rae changing his mind on the abortion issue, the source told The Interim that the Premier is on record as believing that “women should have access to abortion.” She said that it is also the opinion of all the women in the cabinet, including Anne Swarbrick, Minister of Women’s Affairs, and Evelyn Gigantes, Minister of Health.
Mike Farnan, Solicitor General in the NDP government, who claims to be pro-life, goes along with the cabinet decision, the source told The Interim.
He was seen in the house sitting behind Ms. Gigantes, looking uncomfortable when she was reading her November 27 statement.
In his letter Bishop O’Mara said, “I by no means make light of the deep human problems that many people, especially women, can experience as the result of an unwanted pregnancy. Our answer would be to recognize this and help them with all possible respect and sensitivity.
Under the new NDP government plan announced by Ms. Gigantes, women will no longer pay any fees for an abortion. Measures also include extending grants to women living in Northern Ontario if they have to travel any distance to kill their unborn babies.
The NDP government also intends to speed up the licensing of free-standing abortuaries, fully funding them and actively recruiting and training more doctors to provide the killing service.
In the possibility that a letter had been forwarded to the Minister of Health, Evelyn Gigantes, The Interim contacted her communications assistant, Sue Craig. Ms. Craig claimed that neither she nor the minister had seen the letter criticizing the NDP’s government actions.
She said that in any event, there would be no reply.
“The Minister respects the rights of all the people to hold their opinions regarding this procedure,” Ms. Craig said. She denied that there was any attempt by the NDP government to “downsize” the impact of the new abortion-promoting initiative by having it announced the same day that the blockbuster Auditor General’s Report was released.