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Protection of Conscience Project

Service, not Servitude
Repression of Conscience

Student pressured to participate in abortion

Saskatchewan, Canada (1999)


In speaking to the protection of conscience bill he introduced in the Canadian House of Commons (see text of the bill) , Mr. Maurice Vellacott told the House about an encounter he had had with one of his constituents, a student who was under some duress to participate in abortion. The story is consistent with the later testimony of Professor Barney Sneiderman before a Senate sub-committee.

Mr. Vellacott advised the constituent to return to his office if she was unable to make an alternate arrangement and opt out of observation/involvement in an abortion. When she did not return, Mr. Vellacott assumed that she had been accommodated. [Administrator]

Hansard (Record of Debates in the House of Commons)

18 November, 1999

Mr. Maurice Vellacott: I recall a day some months ago when I had an aboriginal girl come into my office. She was pretty emotionally shook up. She was coming to the completion of her term of study. She asked me "What can I do in the situation I am caught in? I am supposed to do a study of certain modules or elect certain modules as I come to the end, and it appears-I do not know and I have to find out-that I have to be involved in an abortion procedure".

This was an aboriginal girl and from her background, whether religious or not, sanctity of life, respect for life, was important. She had the feeling that she would be coerced or forced into an abortion procedure or be denied completion of her program. I have talked to doctors and to others, and it seems that in some schools at least, students are forced to be involved in this as part of their training program.

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