Last Updated: Friday - 09/24/2010
Week of October 7, 2002
N. B. stands up to Morgentaler
By ART BABYCH
Canadian Catholic News
The head of a New Brunswick pro-life group says Dr. Henry Morgentaler is "once again trying to bully New Brunswickers" by threatening to take the province to court for refusing to pay for abortions at private clinics.
Peter Ryan of Campaign Life Coalition said New Brunswick "should stand up to Morgentaler and to anyone else who tries to dictate we pay for unwanted children to be aborted."
Morgentaler did not say in a CBC news report Sept. 30 when court action would be launched against New Brunswick and "possibly" Nova Scotia but promised it would be soon.
Five provinces - Manitoba, Quebec, P.E.I., New Brunswick and Nova Scotia - are refusing to fully fund abortions performed at private clinics in supposed contravention of the Canada Health Act.
Morgentaler, who operates abortion clinics across the country including Fredericton, said Health Minister Anne McLellan should enforce the law because the five provinces are contravening the Canada Health Act.
But McLellan says the federal government has little power to do so. Ottawa can withhold a percentage of federal transfer payment but McLellan said there is no other enforcement mechanism.
Ryan says New Brunswick's policy does not contravene the Canada Health Act. "The act is about paying for medically necessary procedures," he said. "Ending an unwanted pregnancy is a personal choice, not a medical necessity."
Ryan said the Canada Health Act is not about abortion. "It's about health care and abortion is not health care because pregnancy is not a disease."