Last Updated: Friday - 09/24/2010
Week of November 4, 2002
Abortion's medical necessity claim challenged in Commons
By ART BABYCH
Canadian Catholic News
Two Saskatchewan members of Parliament are challenging claims that abortions should continue to be funded out of taxpayers' dollars because they are "medically necessary."
Canadian Alliance MP Garry Breitkreuz, (Yorkton-Melville) and Independent MP Jim Pankiw (Saskatoon-Humboldt) have introduced Private Members Bills in the House of Commons -Breitkreuz asking that the health committee study whether abortions are medically necessary, Pankiw calling for a referendum to decide if Ottawa should continue to fund medically unnecessary abortions.
Both bills have little chance of passing in the Liberal dominated House of Commons.
Breitkreuz called on Health Minister Anne McLellan to provide evidence to justify her claims abortions are medically necessary. He told the House Oct. 25 that a letter from the minister's own department contradicts her public statements. The Saskatchewan MP told the House that on Oct. 3 McLellan said in the Saint John Telegraph Journal, "Our view is that obviously abortion is a medically necessary service." But Breitkreuz said he has a letter from the minister's department saying it doesn't have any evidence showing that abortions are "medically necessary."
He reminded MPs that under the Canada Health Act, for a medical procedure to be publicly funded it must be medically necessary and therapeutic.
Pankiw said Canadians overwhelmingly oppose the use of tax dollars to pay for such abortions.
"The democratic way to deal with the issue of de-funding abortions is to put it before Canadian voters in a national referendum during the next federal election," he said.