by Steven Ertelt
May 18, 2006
Fredericton, Canada (LifeNews.com) — The hospital that performs most of the publicly funded abortions in the Canadian province of New Brunswick plans to quit doing abortions this summer. Dr. Everett Chalmers Hospital says abortions will no longer be done there starting June 30 and it cited workload problems as the reason for stopping.
Last year, the Medicare system in New Brunswick paid for 404 abortions and 400 were done by the River Valley Health authority, with most of them occurring at Chalmers.
Another hospital in New Brunswick had also been performing abortions but stopped months ago.
Dr. Bill Cooke, the vice-president of medical affairs at Chalmers Hospital, told the CBC that it is up to individual doctors at the hospital to determine whether they want to do abortions. He indicated the obstetrics department is overworked and underfunded and can no long do them.
"The services that are provided by any one particular physician, whether it’s in a specialty or in family practice, are the choices of those physicians," he told CBC.
With Chalmers Hospital not doing abortions, there is essentially no publicly funded abortion center in the province.
The Morgentaler Clinic in Fredericton does abortions, but anyone getting an abortion their must use their own funds instead of having the abortion paid for through the Canadian health care plan. Abortions at Morgentaler cost anywhere from $500 to $750 and last year 600 women had abortions there.
Henry Morgentaler has been pushing for New Brunswick to pay for abortions there for years and his lawsuit is still in court.
Health Minister Brad Green says the hospital is working with other health care facilities to find another place that will do the abortions.
"That work is ongoing so I’m not in a position today to answer for you how we’re going to deal with, what the province has announced but I can say we’re working on the issue," he told the CBC.
Judy Burwell, a former manager of the Morgentaler abortion business, told the CBC she was worried that some women won’t get abortions who can’t afford one.
"It’s going to put additional stress on the clinic to meet that need," she explained. "Our concern is more the stress it’s putting on women who may now have to wait longer even to get into the clinic."
Abortion advocates, just before the recent Canadian elections, lamented that just 20 percent of the hospitals in Canada perform abortions, which they claim makes access to abortion difficult for rural and low-income women.
They advocated Canadian voters support candidates from the Liberal party, where just 12 percent of the party candidates oppose abortion. Some 70 percent of the members of the Conservative Party are pro-life while none of the MPs of the Bloc Quebecois or NDP oppose abortion.
In 2002, there were 105,154 abortions in Canada compared with a figure of 106,270 in 2001. The number of abortions in Canada peaked in 1997 at 112,000. Abortion in Canada were legalized in a 1998 Supreme Court of Canada ruling.