religions in Index
From: Copy from CTV Canadian News
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Updated Wed. Dec. 4 2002 1:50 PM ET
Hospitals should cut religious ties: Morgentaler Canadian Press TORONTO —
Canadian abortion doctor Henry Morgentaler wants public hospitals to end any affiliation they have with religious bodies.
Some hospitals, especially those linked with the Roman Catholic Church, deprive patients of access to abortion, contraception and AIDS prevention, Morgentaler said Wednesday. I
n a news release, Morgentaler, who operates eight public abortion clinics across Canada, called for a "complete secularization" of all public hospitals.
He said the religious ban should include hospitals that gain Catholic ties as a result of a merger, "thereby imposing a religious doctrine on public tax-supported hospitals.
"Morgentaler was to address a news conference later Wednesday with representatives from the Canadian Abortion Rights Action League and the Ontario Coalition for Abortion Clinics.
A longtime abortion-rights crusader, Morgentaler announced recently he was taking the New Brunswick and Nova Scotia governments to court over their refusal to pay the full cost of abortions at his clinics.
He has been trying for years to persuade the federal government to make every province fund abortions in private clinics, which he says is required under the Canada Health Act.
Prince Edward Island, Manitoba and Quebec still don't fund abortions in private clinics in any form.
In October, the anti-abortion group Life Canada released a poll suggesting only 23 per cent of Canadians want all abortions to be publicly funded. The poll also suggested 51 per cent of Canadians think abortions should only be tax-funded in medical emergencies such as threat to a mother's life, or in cases of rape or incest.
Meanwhile, research also released in October by the anti-abortion group Respect de la Vaie Outaouais found Morgentaler has an estimated gross annual revenue of about $11 million.
The group quoted statistics showing that in 1992-93 -- the last year for which figures were available -- there were 103,244 abortions in Canada.
Of those, Morgentaler's clinics performed 19,026, not including abortions at his Edmonton centre because the numbers weren't available, the group said.