B.C. abortion under challenge
Campaign Life Coalition of British Columbia has announced it will use B.C.'s Freedom of Information Law to show it is in the "public interest" for the Information and Privacy Commissioner to override the censorship provisions of Bill 21 and order the release of abortion-related information.
Requests have already been sent to several B.C. hospitals for statistics from their locations. "As the process develops and our requests for information are denied, we will be using all of the appeal processes available to us to gain this information," said John Hof, president of Campaign Life Coalition B.C.
"The public has a right to know if medical service delivery is being abused by repeat abortions: if follow-up is being done on women who abort at local clinics and then show up at area hospitals with complications from their abortions: if underage children are having abortions without parental consent or notification."
Among other things, Bill 21 mandated which hospitals around the province would provide abortions. It also entrenched an outright ban on the release of any local abortion statistics, complication rates, ages of those seeking abortion, their previous abortions, even including any background information on lobbying or policy formation.
Hof said Bill 21 basically censored the release of any and all abortion-related information by amending the Freedom of Information Act.
Pro-life spokesman Ted Gerk said Bill 21 was "an attempt by the government of the day to silence their critics on abortion policy ... if you take away the right to know what is happening on a public policy issue, you shut down the ability of your political opponents to debate you."
Former NDP Attorney General Colin Gableman caused a scandal in 1994 when it was discovered that he had filed a false affidavit in a B.C. court over secret meetings he had had with the B.C. Coalition for Abortion Clinics.
Subsequently it was discovered, through freedom of information requests, that the government was plotting with abortion clinics and their political supporters to stifle abortion-related protests, creating a situation where "the chief law-enforcement arm of government was working for one side of a public policy issue," said Gerk.
Gerk noted the irony of hospitals being forced to do abortions, while the public is not allowed to know how many, as well as other information related to abortion complications, deaths, or live births after late-term abortions.
"Bill 21 denies any interested persons from knowing the truth about abortion delivery in B.C.," he said.
Supporters of the effort are being asked to visit Facebook and search for Stop Abortion Censorship, or visit http://stopabortioncensorship.wordpress.com/.