Quebec Health Minister Christian Dubé crossed out an article from Bill 15 which, according to the Federation of General Practitioners of Quebec (FMOQ), could have restricted access to abortion in Quebec. Supported by the FMOQ, women’s health centers feared being forced to go through an accreditation process to offer a voluntary termination of pregnancy (abortion) service.
Mr. Dubé’s team assures that it never had the intention of restricting access to abortion by means of Bill 15: it explains that it only copied and pasted an article from the Law on health services and social services in its reform project.
The president of the FMOQ, Dr Marc-André Amyot registered in the Quebec register of lobbyists on October 25 to ask Quebec to withdraw section 1166, which he said posed a problem. In a letter that he sent the same day to Christian Dubé, and that The duty was able to consult, he describes the situation as “alarming and incomprehensible”. “At the FMOQ, we have difficulty explaining how the question of the approval of abortion services can once again be brought to the forefront,” he writes.
The Dr Amyot recalls that in 2009 the Quebec government wanted to impose an approval procedure on medical clinics offering abortions so that they become specialized medical centers. Bill 34 caused an outcry, so much so that Quebec excluded these clinics from the application of the law.
In his letter, the Dr Amyot emphasizes that “abortions performed in extra-hospital settings are carried out using a non-medical practice which does not require being carried out in an operating room with the associated standards”. He specifies that, “for decades, the network has never noted a problem of complaints, infections or complications with regard to these centers [de santé des femmes] “.
Following his letter, the Dr Amyot was able to discuss article 1166 with Minister Dubé’s office at the end of last week. He is delighted with his withdrawal from Bill 15. “It’s excellent news,” he said in an interview with The duty. “For us, it was important to defend that and not compromise access to abortion. »
For us, it was important to defend that and not compromise access to abortion.
The Montreal Women’s Health Center also welcomes Christian Dubé’s decision. “I am very happy and very pleased with the openness and listening of the minister and his office,” said his development and community outreach coordinator, Marianne Rodrigue.
Women’s health centers feared being subject to an accreditation process. “It’s really very expensive, and it’s also the imposition of excessively medical standards, which go beyond what is medically necessary,” says Patricia La Rue, director of the Outaouais Women’s Clinic. “It’s not open heart surgery, it’s an abortion. We exist to humanize voluntary termination of pregnancy. »
An article that already exists in the current law, says Quebec
Minister Christian Dubé’s office indicates that section 1166 is already part of the Health and Social Services Act and that it was simply copied from Bill 15. “It’s not us, when of the tabling of Bill 15, which we included this element”, specifies the press secretary of Minister Christian Dubé, Antoine de la Durantaye.
Currently, section 1166 is not applied to women’s health centers due to a “tacit understanding.” “There have been discussions in recent weeks with the FMOQ and the women’s centers who told us “as long as we reopen the law, couldn’t we remove it?” », explains Antoine de la Durantaye. “Mr. Dubé has of course heard the concerns and has made the decision to withdraw this article. By doing so, the minister ensures that access to abortion remains. »
A good choice, according to the Dr Amyot. “As far as reproducing the same error and resubmitting it for discussion, I think it was better to simply remove it,” he said.
In previous amendments to Bill 15, Christian Dubé removed the obligation for women’s health centers to designate a doctor as medical director. In these organizations, various professionals work collaboratively, and doctors practice in rotation.