By Alistair Waters – Kelowna Capital News
Published: June 08, 2010
A bid by B.C. anti-abortionists to have the number of abortions conducted at Kelowna General Hospital and Vancouver General Hospital each year made public has failed.
B.C.’s Information and Privacy Office has told Campaign For Life Coalition British Columbia it will not hold an inquiry into the matter.
The ruling effectively kills the coalition’s attempt to force public release of the numbers, which are protected by law under the province’s Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act.
“The office never even wanted to look into it,” said coalition spokesman Ted Gerk, of Kelowna.
Gerk was critical of the two hospitals for arguing earlier this month, just as an inquiry was scheduled to proceed, that the number should be kept under wraps as a matter of public safety. The hospitals argued successfully that an inquiry should not be held.
Gerk said that only gave his group four days to respond.
But he said his group will not give up on its quest and will try to “educate” MLAs about the need to be open with the numbers. He said he hopes the next time the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy legislation is changed, the number of abortions conducted at the 34 hospitals in B.C. where it is offered will be excluded from protection.
While the exact number at KGH remains secret, earlier this year a top-level administrator with Interior Health has said about 700 abortions are conducted at the here each year.
Mary Jane Cullen, community administrator for the Central Okanagan told the now-defunct Kelowna.com Internet news site while KGH is the only hospital in the Interior Health Authority region that offers regular abortion services, they are available at other hospitals within IHA as well.
Vernon’s Jubilee Hospital, Kimberley and District Hospital, Kootenay Lake DIstrict Hospital, Royal Inland Hospital in Kamloops, Trail Regional Hospital, and Golden and District General Hospital are all listed by the government as facilities mandated to provide the service.
The clinic at KGH opened in 2000 after abortion became a government-mandated core medical service under the former NDP government.