Everywoman’s Health Centre began performing abortions on December 1, 1988. All health facilities in British Columbia fall under the guidelines of the College of Physicians and Surgeons of British Columbia. Although informed of the new abortion clinic, officials with the College did not inspect Everywoman’s until August 22 of 1989, and granted their “conditional” approval on October 19th of 1989.
Everywoman’s Health Centre was allowed to operate for over half a year without an on-site inspection or accreditation.
The College of Physicians and Surgeons informed Everywoman’s Health Centre on January 27, 1993 that they would have to acquire a heart defribillator and electrocardiograph in order to keep their accreditation. Press accounts document Everywoman’s initially balking at the idea of having necessary life-saving equipment on site. Membership of Everywoman’s was split, with a motion by some members to ignore the College guidelines (later defeated). After a mass resignation of Board members, the newly instituted Board decided to follow the College’s guidelines. The College had informed Everywoman’s that unless they responded to the new requirement by June of 1993, their accreditation would be taken away. Technically speaking, Everywoman’s Health Centre lost their accreditation on June 27 of 1993, as they had not responded to the College requirement. Yet the College did not check on the status of their demand until September 9, 1993. The clinic finally responded on October 4, 1993 and agreed to meeting the requirements for re-accreditation.
Hardly the policing one would expect of an institution that is required to protect the health of British Columbians.
Documentation for this section was courtesy of a Freedom of Information request. It should be noted that Dr. M. Vanandel, representing the BC College of Physicians and Surgeons as Deputy Registrar, made a presentation on October 29 of 1998 to the Special Legislative Committee examining the BC Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act. He made reference to our request for material stating the information involving accreditation of the abortion clinic would be used to “harass”. One speculates why mere provision of information to the public could be construed as “harassment”. It is most likely the threat of embarrassment that the public might discover that the College of Physicians and Surgeons of British Columbia allowed a “medical health facility” such as an abortion clinic to operate without accreditation, without an initial inspection, then later allow it to operate past an imposed deadline of meeting the requirement for life-saving equipment – so much for rules, regulations and procedures that protect society…