TORONTO, August 24, 2012 – The Catholic Civil Rights League has asked Deb Matthews, Ontario’s Minister of Health and Long Term Care, to allow requests about abortion data in Ontario under the province’s Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy (FIPPA) legislation. The exemption of abortion information from such requests was made earlier in the year with little publicity under Bill 122.
In a recent letter from League Executive Director Joanne McGarry, the League stated that the exemption will serve no purpose and make it more difficult to evaluate the facts about abortion in the province. “Most of the reasons (given) for the change seem to focus on the sensitive and confidential nature of abortion data, and yet this problem could be solved by simply releasing the numbers in such a way that no one is identified.
“Everyone appreciates the need to preserve the privacy and confidentiality of patients and providers in this and indeed other medical matters. Without reliable data, it will be much more difficult to evaluate trends in women’s health care, and perhaps also the effectiveness of education programs in that regard. Given that FIPPA officers already have the ability to accept or refuse individual requests for information, legitimate research inquiries should be accepted as they have been in the past.”
There has as yet been no response to our letter.
Ontario withholding ‘sensitive’ statistics on abortion in the province, National Post, August 9, 2012
EFC report on suppression of Canadian abortion stats, August 21, 2012