By Linda Wood, REAL Women Chapter President, Yellowknife, NWT (not in association with The Knights)

I was forty-two, my youngest child was ten years old and my oldest child 20 years of age, and I was pregnant. Having had three miscarriages in the past, I first thought that chances were I would have another miscarriage. Weeks passed, however, and my baby stayed healthy. "Why God? Why me?" I asked myself. In month four, a friend, whoi s a nurse, tested me and confirmed what I already knew: that I was very much pregnant. She asked if I wanted to book an appointment with a doctor to which I agreed since my family doctor had moved out of the city. I told her only to book it with anyone who didn't do abortions.

I visited a young, inexperienced doctor. I was not an ideal patient since he appeared to want someone who would obediently say, "Yes, Doctor". In response to his suggestion that an amniocentesis be done, I said that if it was to be done to find out if the baby was defective so that an abortion could be arranged, then there was no point in doing it. Next, he said that, because of my age, we would have to be ready to do a Cesarean section. At this, I asked him for an OB-GYN who did not do abortions as I did not want an abortionist to touch me. I believe that anyone who kills babies one minute will not be in the right frame of mind to deliver mine the next. He said he would check it out, but that in the event there were no pro-life specialists available, I would just have to be happy under his care. He said if this would present a problem, then I required attention beyond his capability. He would have to check with the Ethics Committee.

On my next visit, I was informed that there were three OB-GYN specialists, but the only one who didn't do abortions was leaving in December and they didn't know when they would be replacing him. (My baby was due in March.) The doctor said that I wouldn't be able to request a pro-life specialist, even if one was available, and that I would have to take whoever was on call. Further, if I refused to be treated by an abortionist, and it was deemed I needed his services, then they would conclude that I was not capable of making a decision and they would make it for me! I inquired, "Are you saying I am not capable of making a decision when the reason we got into this issue is because I am trying to get the best medical attention I can for myself and my baby?" He quickly demurred saying, "Well, you're capable, but some people aren't." I told him I didn't think he needed me as a patient to add stress to his life. That was my last visit to him.

Now I needed to find a new doctor. In my fifth month, I found a female, pro-life doctor to whom I recounted my story. She replied, "Oh, you're the one!" She had heard my story from several sources within Yellowknife medical circles. She agreed with what I was doing and supported my demand for the best medical care. However, her hands were tied in that all the OB-GYNs were abortionists. On the other hand, she did know a pro-life surgeon, Dr. Haskins, who had a lot of experience doing C-sections. She approached Dr. Haskins and he agreed to assist me, but advised that he did not have the authority to work in OB-GYN without the hospital board's approval. He suggested I go to a hospital board meeting to request this approval.

With mounting trepidation, I attended the board meeting. I waited until the end of the meeting before I brought my concerns forward. I stated, "It is obvious that I will soon be needing the services of the OB-GYN department of your hospital but there is a problem. You do not have anyone on staff into whose hands I will entrust my or my baby's life."

I explained that studies have shown that doing abortions affects doctors by disrupting their sleep and increasing their incidence of alcoholism, etc. I wasn't accusing the local doctors because I didn't know if they were affected, but, as I explained, I wasn't willing to take the chance. I told them I believed they needed to replace the pro-life obstetrician who had left the hospital, with another pro-life doctor and I pointed out that as much as it is claimed that women have choice, in the Yellowknife hospital, at least, women do not have choices because they are forced to use the services of abortionists. I explained that I had had to go to great lengths to find a doctor with my family's best interests at heart. Similarly, I felt it was important that I, as a patient, have confidence in the specialists who would be treating me and my family. I stated that my doctor had said that I would not be able to choose my OB-GYN specialist, but would have to take whoever was on call. I said that this was not acceptable to me. The board chairman agreed and told me that the hospital administrator would talk to me after the meeting.

After my presentation, it seemed that they could not do enough for me! I was politely asked if I could provide more information about the effect of abortion on abortionists. I took the opportunity to point out that the data was in the literature, but pro-abortion feminists and doctors don't want the information to get out. I did manage to get the administrator the video, "The Abortion Providers" and she watched it. Her reaction? She was positively non-committal. It was very interesting.

In reference to my suggestion that the hospital hire a pro-life specialist, the administrator told me the abortion issue is not raised when they interview doctors. I said I didn't accept this because if the situation was reversed and the hospital only had pro-life OB-GYNs, the administration would certainly be raising the issue. They did not deny this and I told them that the women of Yellowknife expected to have equal access to pro-life specialists. They agreed to put at my disposal the services of Dr. Haskins, the pro-life surgeon.

A reporter, who had been at the board meeting approached me the next day for a statement. I was only trying to get the services of a pro-life doctor and wasn't anxious to talk to him. I was sure he would spin my story in a way that would make it unrecognizable. However, I felt women needed to know they could demand pro-life choices. After hearing my story, the reporter said a hospital spokesperson didn't think my request had any merit because I had not gone to my MLA! I responded by saying that I was confronted with a hospital problem, so I went to the hospital board. It was not something I wanted to do, but something I felt I had to do. I said the hospital was trying to pass its problem on to someone else as it didn't want to deal with it. The reporter then asked me what I was going to do next. I said it was the hospital's job to hire the right doctor. It was my job to be a wife to my husband, a mother to my other four children and to have my baby.

Oh ... by the way ... our healthy baby girl, who we call "Our Blessed Surprise", was born by C-section on March 19, 1996 ... under the skilled guidance of the pro-life surgeon!