According to University of Montreal, demographer Nicole Murcil-Gratton, Quebec’s low birth rate is the result of mass sterilization in the seventies and eighties. About 40 per cent of all couples between 20 and 44 years old have one partner who is sterilized.
Quebec has the second lowest birth rate in the western world after West Germany. Before 1960, Quebec had the highest birth rate. Although the Catholic Church rejects sterilization as morally unacceptable, many Quebecois’ have turned their back on the Church to which they once belonged. Others use the views of dissenting priests and theologians, and the silence of bishops, as an excuse for sterilization.
The Quebec Health Insurance Board reports that in 1985, 17,981 men had vasectomies and 22,041 women had tubal ligations.
The year before, the figures were almost identical. From 1976 on, sterilizations began to supplant the pill as the most common method of birth control. Abortions are another much used method to prevent having children.
Funding of Family Planning Clinics
According to an article in the Stratford Beacon Herald, August 23, 1988, the Perth District Health Unit has received both approval and funding from the Ministry of Health for Family Planning Clinics in Stratford and Listowel. These clinics are to receive 100 per cent funding from the Ministry of Health, with an initial opening grant of $17,805 and a base annual rate of operating costs of $52,000.
No mention of abortion or abortion referrals is made in the article, but as studies by Dr. Marion Powell and Planned Parenthood contributed to the ministry’s decision, it is highly likely that when these clinics come, abortion will not be far behind.
Meanwhile, in Ontario hospitals are being forced to close whole floors with hundreds of beds, seriously ill patients are forced to wait months for urgently-needed surgery, and emergency units are clogged with sick people for whom there is no room. The Minister of Health, Elinor Caplan, however, has a bottomless pocket when it comes to funding abortion.