Friday, November 26, 2010

CIHI is not ATIPable

My letter below was published today in the National Post. Below my letter are the numbers of abortions done in Canada in 2006.

As an interesting side note to the fact that Statistics Canada does not publish abortions statistics anymore since they transferred the responsibility to The Canadian Institute for Health Information (CIHI), is that CIHI is not subject to the same Access to Information and Privacy (ATIP) rules as Statistics Canada is, since CIHI is not a government organization.

This is what CIHI told me:
"CIHI is a not-for-profit organization and is not subject to any federal or provincial access to information or privacy legislation."

Yet The Office of the Information commissioner of Canada website states:
"the right of individuals to access information held by public bodies and marks the benefits of transparent, accessible government."
"Access to information is a right of everyone
Access is the rule—secrecy is the exception
The right applies to all public bodies
Making requests should be simple, speedy, and free
Officials have a duty to assist requesters
Refusals must be justified
The public interest takes precedence over secrecy
Everyone has the right to appeal an adverse decision
Public bodies should pro-actively publish core information
The right should be guaranteed by an independent body"

So remind me again how the transfer of abortion statistics to CIHI bodes well for "transparent, accessible government"? I'm just saying.

A 'sensible' debate on abortion

National Post · Thursday, Nov. 25, 2010

Re: Can We Sensibly Debate Abortion?, letter to the editor, Nov. 24.

Letter-writer David Bowland says that "what passes today as argument on a critical and fundamental issue like abortion [is] emotionally charged language devoid of fact but designed to tug at one's heartstrings rather than appeal to one's rational mind."

OK, let's talk facts. Canada has no abortion law and abortion is legal up until a woman gives birth. We have about 100,000 abortions a year. According to Statistics Canada in 2006 we had 464 (reported) late-term abortions. Also in 2006, Statistics Canada reported 55,006 abortions "of unknown gestational age."

We aren't allowed to have a debate about abortion in Canada -- especially not in Parliament. The letter writer doesn't like the term "culture of death." Since abortions are the willful destruction of unborn children, which are members of the human species, we can't call this a "culture of life." He also doesn't like the phrase "widespread extermination of ... our humanity." We are exterminating pre-born humans, and 100,000 is quite a few.

Those are the facts. Disliking them doesn't change them.
Patricia Maloney, Ottawa.

2006 Abortion statistics
Under 9 weeks 13,368
9 to 12 weeks 17,848
13 to 16 weeks 3,241
17 to 20 weeks 1,383
21 to 40 weeks 464
Unknown or not reported (2) 55,006 60%
Total abortions 91,310
(2) Note the large percentage of abortions with an unknown or not reported gestation age of fetus.

Source: Statistics Canada from an ATIP request, November 2010

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