Site Search

Custom Search

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Abortion: bring on the debate

The abortion debate is on once more in Canada, and I say Hurray! to that. The sad fact of the matter has been that, for over twenty years, for a politician to engage in a debate against publicly funded abortion on demand in Canada has been the political equivalent to suicide.

Since 1988, there has been no law at all covering abortion in Canada . All other western democracies seem to have some form of law covering abortion. Are all these countries against the rights of women? Hardly.

In Canada, it’s a black and white issue: an unborn child, from conception to just before the moment of birth, can be aborted without breaking the law. That’s a sorry fact and I think it is wrong on every level.

The prospect that a six to nine month old fetus can be aborted on anyone’s whim is abhorrent to me. Such a prospect should be totally outside the bounds of any civilized society. And, because there is no law covering such a thing, there does not seem to be reliable statistics showing the number of late-term abortions in this country.

Unregulated abortion on demand and funded by the government is just plain wrong—it is inhuman. Surely, once the fetus has reached the point it could survive outside the womb, we should extend the protection of the law to that unborn child.

I am happy to see some political commentators like Michael Coren are taking up the challenge of speaking out against this objectionable practice. Let’s hope his views won’t be dismissed purely because he’s right-wing and a Christian: I gather the views of right-wing Christians are considered dangerous in some circles.

For the record, I’m not a Christian or belong to any other religion. But I do believe we need some level of protection for unborn children.

It won’t happen though. Sadly, the mere mention that some measure of protection should be extended brings shouts of derision, name-calling and outrage.

 

Return to Main page »
© 2010 Russell G. Campbell
All rights reserved.

17 comments — This is a moderated blog and comments will appear when approved. Please don’t resubmit if your comment doesn’t appear immediately, and please do not post material that is obscene, harassing, defamatory, or otherwise objectionable.

  1. "The prospect that a six to nine month old fetus can be aborted on anyone’s whim is abhorrent to me."

    Good thing it never happens then, isn't it?

    The fact of the matter is that there are indeed laws and a physician who carried out an abortion on demand at 9 months would lose his or her license.

    Just because there is no criminal law doesn't mean there are no laws dealing with this. Just because we don't throw women in jail for abortion, doesn't mean that they can demand an abortion anytime anywhere.

    This is really a canard that women are demanding abortions "on a whim" just weeks before due dates.

    It. Just. Does. Not. Happen.

    ReplyDelete
  2. We'll let Ignatieff defend the position that all abortions must be funded and that abortions must be performed in African countries in order to get Canadian aid (even if they are illegal there).

    This is a position that 5-10% agree with.

    The rest of us can debate intelligently a democratic compromise away from the extremes.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Russ,
    Stats Can does a therapeutic abortion survey which collects (and I quote):
    - First day and month of last normal menses, or reported number of weeks of gestation
    - Date fetus removed

    From this one can compute estimated weeks of gestation ergo age of fetus. They also note that some of the information is not available for all induced abortions reported to the survey. Some respondents supply only aggregate counts. Records are generated for these counts and included in the database, but most of the data element fields remain blank.

    However, even if they had solid data I suspect the information would still not be published and so far I have not been able to locate abortions by weeks of gestation in Canada.

    In the US where there are limits one source reports:
    52% of all abortions occur before the 9th week of pregnancy, 25% happen between the 9th & 10th week, 12% happen between the 11th and 12th week, 6% happen between the 13th & 15th week, 4% happen between the 16th & 20th week, and 1% of all abortions (16,450/yr.) happen after the 20th week of pregnancy.http://www.abortionno.org/Resources/fastfacts.html

    It would be nice to have an adult conversation about this topic. I just don't see that happening though.

    ReplyDelete
  4. I'm in full agreement with your post.

    I say bring it on!

    ReplyDelete
  5. "We'll let Ignatieff defend the position that all abortions must be funded and that abortions must be performed in African countries in order to get Canadian aid (even if they are illegal there)."

    Are conservative positions so bankrupt that they have to make stuff up about the opposition all the time, just to try to curry favour with a public that is increasingly opposed to Harper's position and their views?

    First Russ (and he's certainly not alone in this) wrongly claims there are no laws dealing with abortion.

    And now Anonymous claims Ignatieff wants abortions everywhere when he and the opposition have been clear that they want to maintain Canada's longstanding policies on international aid which Harper is unilaterally and was secretly trying to change.

    And she/he claims to want an intelligent discussion about anything. Right.

    ReplyDelete
  6. Thank you for bringing facts into the discussion Gerry. It is unfortunate for so many that facts tend to have such a liberal bias.

    Of the 1% (16,450/yr in the US), those include abortions to save the mothers life, where the fetus has been diagnosed as fatal (eg. lungs have not developed) or whose heart has even stopped beating altogether.

    The whole argument that we need to criminalize abortion because nothing stops a woman from terminating a pregnancy after the 20th week or, worse, in the last weeks of a pregnancy are perverse distortions of reality.

    ReplyDelete
  7. OK, Ted. Cite for ill-informed me the sections in the criminal code regulating abortion.

    And who went to jail for this cruel, inhumane act described here: http://noapologies.ca/?p=3136 ?

    ReplyDelete
  8. Russ,

    Since I already answered that question up above, I'm just going to copy and paste to save you from looking up and straining your neck:

    The fact of the matter is that there are indeed laws and a physician who carried out an abortion on demand at 9 months would lose his or her license.

    Just because there is no criminal law doesn't mean there are no laws dealing with this. Just because we don't throw women in jail for abortion, doesn't mean that they can demand an abortion anytime anywhere.

    ReplyDelete
  9. That's a non-answer, Ted. The real answer is there is no criminal law against on-demand abortion, even at full term. And that is shameful.

    The killing of a human offspring in any form should, at least, be regulated by our criminal code and not left to a professional code of ethics.

    I am an account who is bound by a code of ethics which has much the same weight as law; however, acts such as embezzlement are still covered by the criminal code.

    Please cite the so-called "laws" you claim are elsewhere that provide that "a physician who carried out an abortion on demand at 9 months would lose his or her license"? I believe such "laws" as you call them are mainly "suggestions" made by certain medical organizations and do not provide specific penalties for non-compliance.

    I should also point out that Canadian women are sometimes referred to clinics in the United States (Kansas, Washington State, and Colorado). And such procedures and associated expenses are funded in full or part by some provincial governments. This is morally equivalent to performing these procedures in Canada--or do you want to split hairs here as well?

    And don't be concerned about straining my neck, why didn't you respond to my second question? I'll repeat it here:

    Who went to jail for the cruel, inhumane act described here: http://noapologies.ca/?p=3136?

    And why wouldn't the so-called laws you claim are there have pertained here?

    ReplyDelete
  10. Why is the criminal code the only place pro-lifers suggest? Why is throwing someone in jail for something they don't like always the answer for conservatives?

    I'm not going to respond to your link, Russ, because I don't know the facts in that case and nor do you. What was the genetic defect they discovered? There are many problems that could arise based on missing chromosone 22, some of them treatable and some of them fatal. The article carefully avoids discussing what was the actual prognosis was for this fetus.

    However, the article you link to is wise in suggesting "Pro-lifers have to take the trouble to research their subject and publish their information". You would be wise to follow Suzanne's advice.

    But if action on these issues is what you want, then why not take them up with one of our four pro-choice federal parties, including the pro-choice PM, or our pro-choice provincial governments in every single province?

    In poll after poll after poll a huge majority of Canadians oppose criminalizing abortion and throwing women in jail for terminating their own pregnancies.

    ReplyDelete
  11. Is your last comment your long-winded way of telling me you cannot cite the so-called "laws" you claim are elsewhere that provide that "a physician who carried out an abortion on demand at 9 months would lose his or her license"?

    You research regarding abortion and polls on the subject is flawed. In Canada, abortions can be performed at any time during pregnancy and for any reason.

    Annual polls conducted by Leger Marketing and Environics from 2002 to present have consistently shown that Canadians do not support the status quo. The polls have found that only three in ten Canadians support the current policy in which there is no legal protection for human beings at any stage of development before birth.

    Gallup Polls conducted from 1975 to 2000 show similar results, with nearly two-thirds of Canadians indicating they would support some restrictions on abortion. A 1999 Gallup poll showed that 51% of Canadians believed abortion should only be legal in certain circumstances, while an additional 9% would make abortions illegal in all circumstances. Only 37% of Canadians believed abortion should be legal in all circumstances.

    Ask Canadians if they believe abortions should be legal in the 9th month of pregnancy and you'll get an answer like: only if the baby has a catastrophic, non-correctable defect or in doctors' opinions, the mother's life is in danger.

    Most Canadians I have spoken to on this issue believe a law already exists to prevent late-term abortions unless the baby has a catastrophic, non-correctable defect or in doctors' opinions, the mother's life is in danger. I spoke to a senior person at a children aid society, who was appalled to hear there was not. And that came after a week or so of her trying to refute my claim there was no clear legal ban.

    For goodness sake, man, it is murder if done after birth, why not murder one day before birth? If a baby is born with five heads, it is murder for the mother to end its life.

    I'm not looking for a total ban on abortion; most Canadians are not. What I want is what all but about three countries in the world have: reasonable restrictions on on-demand late-term abortions.

    I also do not believe our medicare systems should pay for elective surgeries to abort healthy babies as a form of birth control.

    I find it interesting that OHIP will not pay for contraception pills, if you are taking them to not get pregnant, or contraception devices; but will pay for/refund expenses to abort a pregnancy for no other reason than birth control.

    I too am pro-choice, but I want a morally justified choice.

    I cannot believe progressives see no moral issues here other than some absolute right of a mother to demand the death of her unborn child, a right she loses instantly once the child draws a breath outside her womb.

    What a callous, selfish world you want for us.

    ReplyDelete
  12. "What a callous, selfish world you want for us."

    And there you have the very reason why it is futile to have rational discussions about this subject and why I try to avoid them. I broke my vow here trying to make the simple point that, while there is no criminal law covering this, it is also not happening.

    But, as you've gone into insult mode, I'm done.

    Cheerio.

    ReplyDelete
  13. Well, that has been energetic and interesting. Ted, I am stuck back on the assertion that late term abortions are "not happening". What data I can find indicates that some are done after the 20 week period, other data I can locate indicates that the majority of abortions are done for reasons other than actual health of the woman and are often birth control oriented. I think your descriptors of some of the medical situations where late term abortion may be valid (I have no data and would like to see some supporting that) but that does not ipso facto support the notion that they are not happening. I need data to support that and I believe Russ has tried to get some documentation from you as to what, other than criminal law, restrictions are in place. See, the assertion that it is not happening is a blanket one where even on instance discredits the assertion regardless of why it was done.

    ReplyDelete
  14. I see, Ted. Your "rational discussion" includes outlandish and untrue statements like this one of yours "The fact of the matter is that there are indeed laws and a physician who carried out an abortion on demand at 9 months would lose his or her license."

    Not so, Ted. No such "laws", and the fact is that late-term abortions are carried out in Canada, not many, but even one is too many just as even one murder or rape are too many.

    If you consider my statement: "What a callous, selfish world you want for us." a personal insult, I apologize.

    But I do get annoyed and frustrated when someone (especially you, who I believe is a lawyer) makes such a statement like you did and refuses to provide any independent justification.

    The CMA has no penalties such as loss of license, as you have implied, for what they refer to as:

    Elective termination of
    pregnancy after fetal viability may be
    indicated under exceptional circumstances


    Under exceptional circumstances, therefore, late-term abortions are fine with them.

    Wow! Ted, it must be nice to so morally superior you don't need a criminal law to govern the moral equivalent of murder.

    So be it, and Cheerio to you too.

    ReplyDelete
  15. I appreciate the civility, Gerry, which is the only reason why I am continuing with this thread for this response only. (Don't take any lack of follow personally: I'm minutes from taking off on 4 blissfully computer free days, besides our host clearly would prefer not to have a civil discussion.)

    With respect to data, as noted above by you, the data is scant but what we know is this: in the US where there is a free market on all healthcare services, it is performed a scant 1% of the time an abortion is performed which has got to be, what?, 0.001% of pregnancies? This includes private clinics that have even less oversight. As you note, there is more oversight in Canada.

    As for the law, Russ has kindly provided the rule himself. Only "under exceptional circumstances" is it performed. I have not and am not going to find the precise authority for that in each separate province because I don't know it, but since the source came from Russ provided the rule I hope it can be taken an true and not spin.

    That is consistent with what I have heard from a number of doctors including a few oby/gyns, including two cousins (one very pro-life). That, notwithstanding no criminal law, a doctor is not allowed to perform such a late term abortion except in exception circumstances.

    The only permitted exceptional circumstances considered are life and some serious health disaster where a choice must be made (i.e. there is not the time for an emergency C-section to deliver the baby and save both woman and child).

    So to be clear, when I say "it doesn't happen" I am talking about the kind of elective later term abortion Russ wants to throw women and doctors in jail for.

    And the problem with using criminal law to regulate that is that the last thing you want a doctor thinking as he or she is rushing to save a life is whether he should do X or Y because he or she might end up in jail. I've been there: seconds, not minutes, can be the difference between life and death and such a noose hanging around the doctor on its own jeopardizes the health and possibly life of a patient.

    That is my view. Unlike Russ, I'm just stating what I know or think I know to be the facts and law. Unlike Russ, I'm not trying to impose my view or beliefs on anyone or claim some moral superiority. I just do not think the criminal code is the way to reduce abortions, help women and children, and ensure healthy women.

    ReplyDelete
  16. Ted & Gerry,

    Ted's comment: "I don't know it, but since the source came from Russ provided the rule I hope it can be taken an true and not spin."

    My source is the CMA policy statement on Induced Abortion.

    And BTW, "exceptional circumstances" is not defined in that statement. Ted's definition of "The only permitted exceptional circumstances considered are life and some serious health disaster where a choice must be made (i.e. there is not the time for an emergency C-section to deliver the baby and save both woman and child." is, apparently, his own.

    Since the CMA is silent on the definition of "exceptional circumstances" I assume it is left to the discretion of doctors.

    In an earlier comment, Ted wrote: "In poll after poll after poll a huge majority of Canadians oppose criminalizing abortion and throwing women in jail for terminating their own pregnancies."

    I've been following this debate for years and have never seen even one such poll. What I have seen are:

    Annual polls conducted by Leger Marketing and Environics from 2002 to present have consistently shown that Canadians do not support the status quo. The polls have found that only three in ten Canadians support the current policy in which there is no legal protection for human beings at any stage of development before birth.

    Gallup Polls conducted from 1975 to 2000 show similar results, with nearly two-thirds of Canadians indicating they would support some restrictions on abortion. A 1999 Gallup poll showed that 51% of Canadians believed abortion should only be legal in certain circumstances, while an additional 9% would make abortions illegal in all circumstances. Only 37% of Canadians believed abortion should be legal in all circumstances.

    So who is "…trying to impose my view or beliefs?" Not me.

    But I do believe the issue of no-law-at-all is important enough to be debated in public. And, Ted, making misleading statements about poll results is not at all helpful. It's good to have views, but when you state them publicly, one should have some facts to back them up. That's the way I see it.

    ReplyDelete
  17. On Sept. 16, 2009 Dr. Prakesh Shah (U. Toronto) had his abortion-preemie 'study of studies' published in the British Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology. Using data from 37 prior studies, Dr. Shah reported that 1 prior induced abortion boosted relative odds of a premature birth by 35%.[4] Abstract: http://www3.interscience.wiley.com/journal/122591273/abstract
    Was it a mere fluke that the Institute of Medicine identified “Prior first trimester induced abortion” as an “Immutable Medical Risk Factor Associated with Preterm Birth” in the 2006 & 2007 editions of its mammoth book about preterm birth?[1]; URL: http://www.nap.edu/openbook.php?record_id=11622&page=625 ] On 12 January 2009 three (3) preterm birth heavyweights (Dr. Jay Iams, Dr. Robert Romero & Dr. Robert L. Goldenberg) confirmed the IoM finding in a medical journal of the highest prestige, Lancet, on page 165.[2]....
    Two 2009 massive studies confirm that women with prior IAs (Induced Abortions) have higher risk of premature (under 37 weeks' gestation) and handicapped newborn babies.[3,4] A woman who delivers a baby under 32 weeks' gestation also doubles her lifetime risk of breast cancer.[5,6] In February 2009 Dr. Hanes Swingle (U. South Alabama) reported that women with prior IAs raised their relative odds of a birth under 32 weeks' gestation by 64%; Dr. Swingle and colleagues used data from 4 prior studies to get that result.[3] Babies under 32 weeks' gestation have 55 times the Cerebral Palsy risk as fullterm (at least 37 weeks ) newborns.[7] Canadian Dr. Prakesh Shah, who is employed by the Mount Sinai Hospital ( Toronto ) and the University of Toronto, and colleagues, using data from 37 prior studies report that 1 prior IA boosts relative preterm birth odds by 35% but more than 1 prior IA raises preterm birth odds by 93%.[4] Dr. Shah advocates that women receive informed medical consent about the abortion-premature birth of prior induced abortions before the procedure is performed.

    But are these two (2) massive 2009 studies enough to demonstrate that induced abortions pose an increased risk of preterm birth and thus CP risk? In the 'Court of Medicine' a 'defendant' new surgery (or new drug) is presumed guilty of serious adverse side-effects until by strong evidence it is demonstrated to be 'innocent'. This is the exact opposite of a court of law, where the defendant is presumed innocent until proven guilty.



    'Suction' (vacuum aspiration) abortion was invented by doctors in communist China & 'announced' to the world in 1958 in the Chinese Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology. Fifty years later the British Medical Journal had that 1958 article translated into English.[8] From 1958 to 2009 there has never been a 'study of studies' (termed "meta-analysis") or SYSTEMATIC review that cleared by very strong evidence the most common induced abortion procedure, 'suction' abortion, of the risk of a later preterm birth or the low birth weight baby (under 1,500 grams which is 5 pounds 8 ounces) baby.

    In 2007 Dr. Calhoun, Dr. Shadigian, & Brent Rooney (MSc) estimated that there were 1,096 newborn U.S. babies under 1,500 grams with CP in 2002 due to their mother's prior induced abortions.[9]

    Brent Rooney (MSc), Research Director – RPRC
    http://www.justiceforkids.webs.com
    fullterm40@gmail.com

    ReplyDelete

ShareThis