Thank you for your letter of January 27, 2012 responding to my email of January 26, 2012, where I stated that it was time to defund abortions in Ontario.
With all due respect Mr. McGuinty, you seem to be confused about the status of abortion in Canada.
In your letter you wrote:
“You may be aware that, in 1988, the Supreme Court of Canada addressed the constitutional validity of abortion. The court ruled that a woman in our country has the legal right to a timely, accessible abortion as an insured service. In compliance with the Supreme Court decision, abortion remains a publicly funded procedure in Ontario.”
First, the 1988 Morgentaler decision did not give women the constitutional right to abortion in Canada.
Second, it did not require that abortions be publicly funded.
The Supreme Court said that the procedural requirements laid out in the abortion law caused extensive delays and unequal access to therapeutic abortion committees (TACs). It was the TACs which provided women with a valid defence to a criminal charge of abortion. So if a woman whose life or health was endangered by the pregnancy couldn’t access a TAC, she would be committing a crime if she proceeded with the abortion. And the Court said this was a violation of her Charter 7 right to ‘security of the person.’ Essentially, she had to choose between either obeying a criminal law or protecting her life/health, but not both. That is why the court struck down the law. (See here )
The Court also left open the possibility for Parliament to enact a new law to replace the old one.
Chief Justice Dickson in the majority decision said that the protection of the fetus:
“does relate to concerns which are pressing and substantial in a free and democratic society and which, pursuant to s. 1 of the Charter, justify reasonable limits to be put on a woman’s right.”
In other words, it is reasonable to put some restrictions on abortion because protection of the fetus is a legitimate government objective.
You can read the1988 Court decision here.
Another argument people sometimes use in favour of funding of abortions is that the Canada Health Act requires it. This is untrue. As you know, the CHA only requires that medically necessary procedures be funded. Most abortions are not done for medical reasons.
According to the Alan Guttmacher Institute (a research affiliate of the abortion-rights advocacy group, Planned Parenthood Federation of America), nearly all abortions are done for socio-economic reasons, not medical ones.
Did you know that when polled, 91% of Ontarians were unaware how much money your government spends to subsidize abortions in Ontario?
And did you also know that according to a 2011 Environics poll commissioned by LifeCanada, 71% of Ontarians oppose government funding of non-medically necessary abortions?
So, Mr. McGuinty, can you please tell me why Ontarians are paying approximately $35 Million a year on abortions (about 44,000 abortions per year for at least $800 per abortion) when it is likely that most of that money is going towards non-therapeutic abortions—abortions that are done for social reasons that have nothing to do with health care? The Canada Health Act does not require it, the Supreme Court has never ruled on it, and the majority of Ontarians are against it.
One must assume there is a reason, and the people of Ontario, myself included, deserve to know why we continue to pay for abortions.
If your government has no reason, then why are we paying for something for no reason when Ontario is in debt for $16 billion?
I look forward to hearing your answers soon.