Health Minister Would Not Intervene at Hospitals Doing Abortion on Demand

August 2009

The New Brunswick Right to Life Association continues to be dismayed by the evidence that unborn babies are being aborted virtually on demand at two hospitals in the province. It is doubly dismayed by a lack of political leadership in recognizing and dealing with the problem. For several months the Association corresponded with Health Minister Michael Murphy about the troubling situation at the Dr. Georges Dumont Hospital in Moncton and the Chaleur Hospital in Bathurst (correspondence on NBRL website). Mr. Murphy appeared at the March for Life rally held at the Legislature May 14 and indicated he is personally pro-life. However, in a May 15 letter to Association executive director Peter Ryan Mr. Murphy also made clear he had no intention to intervene at the hospitals. In its May 11 news release before the March (see below), the Association stated that the government as a moral and legal obligation to protect babies from abortion on demand within the hospital system. This summer Mary Schryer replaced Mr. Murphy as health minister. Pro-life supporters are waiting to see how Ms. Schryer will deal with the abortion issue. Opposition leader David Alward spoke at the March for Life rally and shared his pro-life beliefs. He has made no public comment on the controversy over the two hospitals. "It’s one thing for abortions to be done on demand at a private facility. It’s another thing altogether when the lives of in utero babies are ended on demand in our hospitals with our tax dollars. Hospitals are supposed to be about saving lives, "not taking them." - NBRL news release 5/11/09 "Abortion Law Flouted at Two Hospitals" NBRL NEWS RELEASE May 11, 2009: The New Brunswick Right to Life Association is dismayed by the abortion situation at two hospitals, and is upset about the government’s unwillingness to do anything about it. The group says provincial law is being abused at both the Chaleur Hospital in Bathurst and the Dr. Georges Dumont Hospital in Moncton.1 Executive Director Peter Ryan says hundreds of abortions are taking place each year at the two hospitals, versus less than 100 for all other hospitals combined. He has written three times to Health Minister Michael Murphy, but so far Murphy is refusing to take action.2 Ryan says, "The Chaleur and Dumont are doing abortion on demand, contrary to provincial law which only allows for ‘medically necessary’ abortions to be covered under Medicare."3 He says what is happening is that unwanted pregnancies are being terminated under the guise of "medical necessity." According to Ryan "that is dishonest, the physicians involved should be ashamed, and by not intervening the Minister of Health is failing in his duties." Right to Life reports that according to health department statistics, 370 abortions were performed in a one year period (2007-08) at the two hospitals, out of a provincial total of 458 hospital abortions.4 Additional abortions take place at the Morgentaler Clinic in Fredericton, which the Association estimates number about 600 a year.5 Peter Ryan says, "It’s one thing for abortions to be done on demand at a private facility. It’s another thing altogether when the lives of in utero babies are ended on demand in our hospitals with our tax dollars. Hospitals are supposed to be about saving lives," he says, "not taking them." Ryan goes on to comment, "It seems we have not yet learned the lesson of Baby Taylor’s death in Moncton: that each and every child is precious, even the so-called unwanted. [‘Baby Taylor’ is the name given to an unidentified newborn baby boy found dead in a snowbank along the Taylor Road in April.] Here we have hundreds of distraught pregnant mothers abandoning their babies each year before birth. The heartrending question is, why is the Province of New Brunswick party to this tragedy, rather than doing something constructive about it?" News Release Notes 1Following the 2006 cessation of abortions at the Dr. Everett Chalmers Hospital in Fredericton, the then Minister of Health announced he had found doctors at two other provincial hospitals willing to perform abortions. Because the Health Department has never disclosed the location of those two hospitals, the public is generally unaware which hospitals now perform abortions. Prior to 2006-07, the Chaleur and Dumont hospitals did few abortions. 2The correspondence with the Minister of Health is available on the Association’s website: www.nbrighttolife.ca 3See Regulation 84-20 under the Medical Services Payment Act. 4227 abortions were carried out at the Dumont Hospital, 143 at Chaleur. The combined total of 370 is comparable to figures for the Dr. Everett Chalmers Hospital and the Moncton Hospital, when they too provided abortion on demand. For years the latter did 300-400 per year, until 2002 when it stopped doing all but a few abortions. The Chalmers did 400 in its final year of such procedures (2005-06), out of a provincial total of 404. 5Clinic figures for some recent years: 2003 - 602; 2004 - 620; 2005 - 593 (Source: Statistics Canada)

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