Saturday, August 11, 2012

How Ontario is hiding abortion statistics

National Post is now covering how Ontario is hiding its abortion statistics.

This was in Friday's paper: Ontario cuts off access to abortion data

Here is my (unedited) response to this article in a letter to the editor published today:

"As reported today in the National Post, access to abortion related information in Ontario has been killed. As the article stated, I found this out when my own access to information to the Ontario Ministry of Health and Long term care was denied.

At that time, I wrote to both Mr. McGuinty and Mr. Hudak. I asked them why abortion services were the only "medical procedure" excluded from FIPPA, and why the exclusion clause was never debated or even mentioned in the Ontario Legislative Assembly. Because Mr. Hudak is leader of the opposition party, I also asked him why he didn't even bother to vote against the third reading of this bill, something one would expect the leader of the opposition to do, precisely because such a clause would seriously thwart a citizen's right to participate in democracy (regardless of whether the citizen be pro-choice or pro-life).

Mr. McGuinty made no comment and instead deflected the questions to Mr. Harinder S. Takhar, Minister of Government Services, who replied with what I refer to as a non-answer answer:
"A limited number of amendments to FIPPA were introduced in connection with the Broader Public Sector Accountability Act, 2010. These amendments, which came into force on January 1, 2012, were developed to assist hospitals maintain quality of care and the safety of staff and patients.

As with all other laws in this province, the amendments to FIPPA were passed by the Legislative Assembly of Ontario following debate in the legislature of the bill that introduced the Broader Public Sector Accountability Act, 2010 and after review by the legislature's Standing Committee on Social Policy."

Mr. Hudak never even bothered to reply to my questions."

If I may quote Pierre Trudeau: "Democratic progress requires the ready availability of true and complete information. In this way people can objectively evaluate their government's policy. To act otherwise is to give way to despotic secrecy."

More coverage in the National Post today:
Kelly McParland: Ontario judges abortion statistics too sensitive to share

NP Lead editorial:
Why Ontario hides abortion statistics

More letters from Jakki Jeffs, and André Schutten:
Citizens ready for abortion truth

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