The Canadian Institute for Health Information (CIHI) annually releases statistics on induced abortions in Canada. Alberta has the greatest disparity in Canada between clinic abortions and hospital abortions. According to clinic manager Kim Cholewa, clinics bill Alberta Health Services approximately $1,600 to terminate a pregnancy.[i] In 2009, according to the CIHI, 78.6% of abortions in Alberta are performed in for-profit, private clinics.[ii] Multiplying the cost that clinics charge Alberta Health Services to perform abortions, we have private clinics being funded to the tune of $16,534,400 for their activity based on 2009 numbers.[iii]
In addition to significant government funding to private clinics when healthcare is already consuming 39% of the provincial budget,[iv] there is also a problem with disclosure in other jurisdictions. For example, clinic reporting of both the numbers of abortions and the cost in British Columbia is voluntary. There is no legislative requirement to report, despite the clinics being funded by the Government of British Columbia. The lack of disclosure from clinics means that the extent to which the government is publicly funding these clinics remains unknown to taxpayers.
According to the CIHI report, “Hospitals are mandated by their provincial/territorial ministry of health to report all hospital activity (not limited to abortions); therefore coverage of abortions performed in Canadian hospitals can be considered to be complete. However, there is no such legal requirement for clinics to report their activity (reporting is voluntary) [and this is why data is often incomplete].”[v]
Clinics that are independent, have no obligation to report their data, and that operate for-profit should not be funded with the limited provincial healthcare dollars.
If private clinics continue to be funded with public dollars, then they should be held to the same reporting and disclosure standards as hospitals.
But I ask: How would you reallocate the 16.5 million dollars annually being spent by the Alberta government on abortions?
– Amanda Achtman
[i] Simons, Paula. “Simons: Alberta should stop stalling, start funding Essure birth-control.” Edmonton Journal, October 11, 2011. Accessed November 1, 2011. Article archived here: http://www2.canada.com/edmontonjournal/news/archives/story.html?id=57816457-0bde-439e-97f2-195e979fbf0d&p=2
[ii] Canadian Institute for Health Information. “Induced Abortions Performed in Canada in 2009.” Accessed November 1, 2011. http://www.cihi.ca/CIHI-ext-portal/pdf/internet/TA_09_ALLDATATABLES20111028_EN.
[iv] Government of Alberta. “Budget summary by ministry.” Accessed November 1, 2011. http://alberta.ca/acn/201102/2995902%20BudgetSummarybyMinistry_Budget2011%20-%20Final.pdf.
[v] Canadian Institute for Health Information. “Induced Abortions Performed in Canada in 2009.” Accessed November 1, 2011. http://www.cihi.ca/CIHI-ext-portal/pdf/internet/TA_09_ALLDATATABLES20111028_EN.