When DJ! first blogged about this 'imbroglio' (Minister Bolduc's word) it appeared it was an oversight or perhaps the insidious work of a zygote zealot at the ministry. But now some claim that the situation was deliberately engineered.
The threat of closing is not coming from anti-choice protesters who have targeted the clinic for 30 years, but from a new provincial health department law that will govern how special medical clinics provide services.
"It's terribly sad. We still have to fight," physician Francine Léger, the clinic's interim director, said Monday.
Bill 34, which was adopted by the national assembly in the spring, says that abortion clinics must adhere to the same guidelines as specialized medical clinics which provide such procedures as cataract and knee surgeries. That means they have to set up separate sterile operating rooms as opposed to simply sterilizing surgical equipment.
Dr Léger, who also practises at the teaching hospital connected to the Université de Montréal, observes that institutions are not required to conform to the new regulations. In fact, the staff of women's clinics who provide abortion, called IVG (interruption volontaire de grossesse) in Québec, were only informed in mid-June by the Ministry that their medical services were included in the provisions of the law and that they would have to enforce the regulations or close.
According to Dr Gaétan Barrette there is documentation - letters from his organization to the Ministry - that proves that Bolduc knew well in advance that Bill 34 would affect independent abortion clinics. He maintains that this political tactic is an under-handed way to restrict the provision of IVGs to hospitals (overwhelmed by demands for other outpatient medical services) and thus limit access.