CALGARY, November 25, 2002 ( – Health Minister Gary Mar ignored the wishes of almost three-quarters of Albertans as he told an expert panel looking at defunding non-essential medical services to exclude abortion from its consideration. Patty Nixon, Executive Director of Alberta Pro-Life, said, “72% of Albertans told Leger Marketing in October that they wanted abortions de-insured, except those done in medical emergencies or for rape and incest. Mr. Mar has thumbed his nose at the voters and taxpayers and has said we will continue to pay for 10,000 abortions a year.”“The provinces only have discretion in funding non-medically necessary services, such as chiropractic or podiatry services,” said Mar in a letter.  “If that is the case, why do we need an expert panel?” said Nixon. “If the minister already knows what can be de-insured, is the panel just a sham?”  She points out that the Senate committee reviewing health care declared in its interim report in March 2001 that it is up to provinces to decide what is medically necessary and therefore paid for by taxpayers.  Mr. Mar’s assertion, that the province funds “only abortions that are medically necessary,” was also challenged by Nixon.  “So all 10,000 abortions, including the over 3,000 a year that are repeats are medically necessary?” she asked. “Mr. Mar pretends that the government is acting responsibly by “only” paying for “medically necessary” abortions, when in fact the only reason abortions are considered medically necessary is because women ask for them, and for no other reason.”  Nixon pointed out that Mr. Mar told Planned Parenthood last March that abortion would not be de-insured, even before the expert panel was appointed. “Mr. Mar is imposing his personal opinion on abortion, despite the opposition of most Albertans. We’ll keep paying for abortions and picking up the tab for all the negative health effects on women afterwards.”  Alberta Pro-Life is running a series of radio ads to alert Albertans to Mr. Mar’s opposition to de-insuring abortion. “This should not be the minister’s decision. If some legitimate health care services are going to be de-insured, taxpayers should be heard on this issue.”


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