TORONTO, Ontario, January 27, 2012 (LifeSiteNews.com) – The Ontario government says it has no plans to cut funding for elective abortions despite comments by the Minister of Health this week that the province’s mounting deficit could lead them to limit funding for planned Caesarean sections.
Health Minister Deb Matthews told reporters Wednesday that medical procedures will be removed from coverage under the Ontario Health Insurance Plan (OHIP) unless they demonstrably improve patients’ health outcomes. “If there isn’t evidence to support a procedure or test, we don’t want to pay for it,” she said. “Sometimes that will mean delisting.”
The comments led the national pro-life group Campaign Life Coalition to call on Dalton McGuinty’s Liberal government to end funding for abortion.
“We agree with Deb Matthews that medically unnecessary procedures should be delisted,” said Mary Ellen Douglas, Campaign Life Coalition’s Ontario president. “A procedure that kills a child in the womb is never medically necessary and therefore we call on the Liberal government to stop funding this elective surgery with our tax dollars.”
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But, the Ministry of Health told LifeSiteNews Friday, “the government has no plans to delist abortion.”
“The determination of whether or not a service is medically necessary is based on the treating physician’s assessment of the individual at the time of the service,” they said.
Matthews created a minor controversy Wednesday when she indicated that health cuts could include limiting planned caesarean sections. “We’ll be taking a hard look at a number of issues,” she said.
The Ontario Association of Midwives estimates that cutting the number of C-sections by 15 per cent (the rate is currently 28 per cent of births) would save Ontario $50 million a year.
But CLC estimates that abortion costs the province $30-50 million a year, based on statistics indicating there are between 30,000 and 50,000 abortions per year, at an average cost of $1,000. That estimate has been confirmed by Joyce Arthur of the Abortion Rights Coalition of Canada.
Matt Dineen, an Ottawa high school teacher whose wife had C-sections with two of their three kids, said it’s “preposterous” that Matthews would look at defunding C-sections while continuing to fund abortion.
“I am grateful to my wife’s doctor who recommended this life-bearing procedure for her own physical safety,” said Dineen.
“Why [stop paying] for a procedure which brings forth new life when instead you can do away with one which eliminates life?” he asked.
An Abacus Data poll in October found that 61% of Ontarians oppose the province’s current policy of funding abortion exclusively through tax dollars. Forty percent of respondents thought abortion should be available but only funded in medical emergencies, while 11 percent think abortion should be available but never funded, and 10 percent opposed abortion completely.
In contrast, 30 percent thought abortion should be available and always funded. Another 8 percent said none of those positions matched their view.
“Abortions are performed for convenience rather than for medical necessity,” said Alissa Golob, CLC’s youth coordinator. “If the McGuinty government is prepared to delist services that reflect a lifestyle choice, abortion should be the first one to go.”
Campaign Life Coalition has gathered more than 15,000 signatures for a petition to defund abortion, and is urging supporters to contact their Members of Provincial Parliament. “Tell them that abortion is a financial drain on our health care system and should be delisted from OHIP,” they say.
The minister plans to reveal the province’s “action plan” for health funding on Monday.
Hon. Dalton McGuinty, Premier
Toronto ON M7A 1A1
Fax: (416) 325-3745
E-mail: Use this form.
Hon. Deb Matthews, Minister of Health
Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care
10th Floor, Hepburn Block
80 Grosvenor Street
Toronto, Ontario M7A 2C4
Tim Hudak, PC Opposition Leader
19 Duncan Street Suite 401
Toronto, ON M5H 3H1
Contact info for Members of Provincial Parliament.