Dozens of Canadian women must travel to the United States to receive late-term abortions. But Quebec health officials are “hopeful” that a newly trained doctor will set up practice in the French-speaking province in the next year and offer this procedure to women who are six-months pregnant.
Up until now, Canadian women have been travelling to Colorado, Washington or Kansas to receive late-term abortions because no Canadian doctors would perform them – not even staunch pro-abortion doctor Henry Morgentaler, who opened Canada’s first abortion clinics – for ethical reasons.
“We don’t abort babies, we want to abort fetuses before they become babies,” Morgentaler told the Canadian Press from his Toronto clinic. “Around 24 weeks, I have ethical problems doing that.”
Morgentaler told CP that if a case like that comes into his clinics, his staff usually counsels the woman “to continue the pregnancy and put it up for adoption if she is unable to care for it.”
The various provincial governments have been paying for these late-term abortions that Canadian women are receiving in the U.S. The cost of the procedure is $5,000 U.S., roughly $6,500 CDN. Last year, 30 Quebec women traveled to the U.S. for this procedure.
Marc Cardinal Ouellet, archbishop of Quebec, told CP that the Quebec government would be better off spending the money assisting mothers to carry their children to term and put them up for adoption.
But Quebec Health Minister Philippe Couillard defended the procedure on CBC Radio, saying that the decision to have a late-term abortion is not easy for women or their doctors.
A spokesperson for the health minister also told CP that the right to abortion is “well-recognized” in Canada and that the ministry has “an obligation to get a patient the help that she needs.”