I would like to introduce my first born son Josh who was 24 weeks gestation and 1.5lbs when he was born. Josh was progressing well and gaining weight for two weeks until a very sick baby was brought into the NICU. He was placed next to Josh’s station and shortly after, Josh became ill, then passed 5 days later. He was able to grasp my finger and my wife and I were grateful to have met our son when he opened his eyes the day before fell ill.
Canadian law says if he was in the womb, he would not be considered a person. Even a 40 week gestation preborn has no rights what so ever and can legally be aborted in Canada for any reason. This is what is known as, “on demand abortion”.
This post is statistical in nature and you may be surprised at the information outlined here. Abortion is a hot button issue that incites strong emotion. These statistics may clarify some misconceptions fostered by partisan attitudes on both sides of the issue. I am simply asking you to revisit the question and give it some careful thought. At what point do preborns magically become people?
Canada is only one of three countries in the world that has no restrictions on abortion. The United States has recently passed a law outlawing abortions after 20 weeks gestation. The Supreme Court of Canada struck down Canada’s abortion law decades ago. Today, a baby can legally be aborted anytime for any reason, if the baby has not cleared the mother body, even if it is crying. Canadian law states, if it is not totally clear of the woman’s body, it is not human being.
Section 223(1) of the Criminal Code of Canada says;
“A child becomes a human being within the meaning of this Act when it has completely proceeded, in a living state, from the body of its mother whether or not it has breathed, …”
- A 24 week gestation baby has 50% to 70% chance of survival 1
- 11,000 (11%) had post abortion complications in 2000 2
- 107,384 (avg.) legal abortions annually in Canada (15 yrs) (Canadian Institute for Health Information)
- 1, 610,774 (1.6 million) abortions in Canada 1995-2010 (Canadian Institute for Health Information)
- 4 million abortions in North America in 2008 (WHO; World Health Organization)
- 6 out of 100,000 woman die in the United States due to abortion complications 3
- Assuming Canada has the same .64% rate, 8 to 9 woman die from abortion surgery in North America annually from legal abortion3
- 44 million abortions globally each year 3
- 30% of pregnancies in Europe end in abortion 3
- 1% of abortions are to save the life of the mother 4
- Even when abortion was illegal in Canada and the US, mothers life took precedence over the babies
- <1% of abortions are related to rape/incest (table 3)
- 1% of American woman between 1972 and 1997 died from complications of legal abortion 5
- 75% of woman who become pregnant due to rape/incest opt not to abort the baby 6
- It is legal in Canada to birth a full term baby almost completely then end its life (Criminal Code)
- In 2009, Canada’s fertility was well below replacement level (2.1) in most countries, averaging 1.74 7
- 158 babies in 2011 were live birth abortions @28wks and allowed to die 8
- 92.5% of abortions in 2004 were elective, having nothing to do with health risks(Table 3)
- March of Dimes-Neonatal Death (updated January 2010)
- Elizabeth Ring-Cassidy and Ian Gentles, “Women’s Health After Abortion”. (Toronto: Deveber Institute, 2003), 10
- World Health Organization; Guttmacher Institute, Facts on Induced Abortiobn Worldwide Fact Sheet 2012; CDC, Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR), Abortion Surveillance — United States, 2009
- Landrum Shetlles and David Rorvik, Rites of Life (Grand Rapids, Mich.: Zondervan Publishing House, 1983), 129.).
- CDC Abortion surveillance report, Surveillance Summaries / Vol. 60 / No. 15, Nov 25, 2011
- Mahkorn, “Pregnancy and Sexual Assault,” The Psychological Aspects of Abortion, eds. Mall & Watts, (Washington, D.C., University Publications of America, 1979) 55-69
- National statistical offices and World Development Indicators (http://data.worldbank.org) for China, India and Indonesia
WHEN CAN A BABY SURVIVE outside the womb, is that a reasonable point in which to declare personhood?
The Endowment for Human Development, citing The Biology of Prenatal Development by National Geographic says,
“By 21 to 22 weeks after fertilization, the lungs gain some ability to breathe air. This is considered the age of viability because survival outside the womb becomes possible for some fetuses.”
Would viability outside the womb not be a more reasonable demarcation line between a human being and a non human being? Why is it that even the question garners such vitriol among abortion proponents? Currently the definition of life is based on 400 year old medical science. When Member of Parliament Stephen Woodworth back in 2012, proposed a motion for the medical and scientific community to revisit the 400 year old thinking of what defines a human being, he was attacked and accused of trying to change abortion law. Woodworth said,
“the current law’s 400-year-old definition of when a person is defined as a human being is dishonest and most Canadians don’t agree with it. Canadian[’s] don’t accept the notion in the law that “birth is a moment of magical transformation that changes a child from a non-human to a human being,” Woodworth said.” (CBC news, By Meagan Fitzpatrick , Apr 26, 2012)
Abortion is such a taboo subject with Canadian society a discussion can’t even be had about the unborn’s pain associated with some abortions. Has our humanity and mercy kept up with medical knowledge? Doctors argue that unborn babies as young as 20 weeks gestation feel pain. Some argue pain is probable down to 12 weeks. Why is this discussion avoided at all costs? Could it be that may diminish the narrative that preborns are not human beings?
“At 20 weeks, the fetal brain has the full complement of brain cells present in adulthood, ready and waiting to receive pain signals from the body, and their electrical activity can be recorded by standard electroencephalography (EEG).”
Dr. Paul Ranalli, neurologist, University of Toronto
“ An unborn baby at 20 weeks gestation “is fully capable of experiencing pain. … Without question, [abortion] is a dreadfully painful experience for any infant subjected to such a surgical procedure.”
Robert J. White, M.D., PhD., professor of neurosurgery, Case Western University
REASONS FOR ABORTION
An overwhelming percentage of 92.5% abortions are for reasons other than health or violence.
This is the second most quoted defense of unrestricted abortion. Let’s look at the rate in which this occurs and a secondary question, do rape victims always by default choose abortion? In 2004, Guttmacher Reasearch in the United States reported 0.5% of woman surveyed attributed their reason for abortion to sexual assault.
Table 3: guttmacher.org/pubs/journals/3711005.pdf (Reasons U.S. Woman Have Abortions: Quantitative and Qualitative Perspectives)
Majority of Sexual Assault Victims Do Not Choose Abortion
The only study on the subject was done by Dr. Sandra Mahkorn in 1979 and her study found that approximately 75% of rape victims who became pregnant, chose not to have an abortion. There are many internet testimonies of woman who tell why they chose to keep the innocent life regardless of its inception.
(Mahkorn, “Pregnancy and Sexual Assault,” The Psychological Aspects of Abortion, eds. Mall & Watts, (Washington, D.C., University Publications of America, 1979) 55-69.)
HEALTH RISKS FOR THE MOTHER
Statistics show < 1% of abortions are performed to save the life of the mother. Dr. Alan Guttmacher of Planned Parenthood made this statement in 1967.
“Today it is possible for almost any patient to be brought through pregnancy alive, unless she suffers from a fatal illness such as cancer or leukemia, and, if so, abortion would be unlikely to prolong, much less save, life.”( Alan F. Guttmacher, “Abortion—Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow,” in The Case for Legalized Abortion Now (Berkeley, Calif.: Diablo Press, 1967 p3)).
Abortion proponents headline reasons for unrestricted abortion are sexual assault and to save the mother’s life. The fear of the pro-abortion lobby is that woman will die if there are any attempts to regulate abortion. Statistics show that those issues only account for approximately 2% of the total abortion procedures in Canada and the United States. Add another 5.5% for birth abnormalities and the vast majority of abortions (92.5%) due to socio/economic considerations, or elective as illustrated by table 3.
It can be argued ½ of all abortion are performed because the mother can’t afford baby or just doesn’t want the baby.These deaths could be preventable and arguably would be if society placed value on the life of a preborn baby. If these babies could be carried to term and adopted, that would drop the abortion rate by 40% to 50%, which translates into 560,000 to 700,000 lives per year, in Canada and the United States.
Post Abortion Complications and Death:
A study sponsored by the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario found that 41,000 women who had undergone abortion experienced,
- 4 times higher rate of hospitalization for infections
- 5 times higher rate of a surgical event
- nearly 5 times higher rate of hospitalization for psychiatric problems
Ostbye T, Wenghofer EF, Woodward CA, Gold G, Craighead J. Health services utilization after induced abortions in Ontario: a comparison between community clinics and hospitals. Am J Med Qual 2001;16(3):99-106.
Late Term Abortions:
In 2010, the United States were 871,053 abortions, of which 1.2% were late term (Guttmacher Institute, Guttmacher.org). That means 10,452 babies around Josh’s age and older, were categorized as non human beings and their lives were ended. Even factoring in 5.5% for abnormalities and health issues, that leaves approximately 9,668 babies in just one year that could have been adopted, if allowed to live a few more months.(Historical Abortion Statistics, United States; Johnsonsarchive.net 2015)
Here is a quote from the Abortion Rights Coalition of Canada (position paper #22)bold highlight added;
“… Abortion is a health procedure and as such, can be left up to the discretion of the doctor and patient. … counter-productive to pass any restriction against abortion, because that would endanger women’s health and lives, and infringe on women’s equality rights: … What these lobbyists strategically fail to mention, however, is that banning late term abortions would force women pregnant with dying fetuses to give birth at great risk to their own health,…”
Statistics clearly conflict with statements like these. Even when abortion was illegal, the mother’s life took precedence over the unborn child. The last statement regarding the banning of late term abortion putting woman at great risk is disingenuous in light of Dr. Guttmacher’s statements back in 1967.
“Today it is possible for almost any patient to be brought through pregnancy alive, unless she suffers from a fatal illness such as cancer or leukemia, and, if so, abortion would be unlikely to prolong, much less save, life.”
Fifty years of advancement later, the only statistically significant reason for late term abortion today is abnormality, which is around 5%. My daughter Sara, was diagnosed with Trysomy 18 at 34 weeks in addition to other abnormalities, I am not with out compassion on those in the 5% category. It was tremendously difficult for my wife and I as we were pressured to abort Sara. To us, Sara was a human being and her life was precious.
Woman’s rights advocates are now defending gender selective abortions. Is it ethical to take a life because the mother may want a boy instead of a girl? I admit, it is much easier if your position is they are not a human being anyway.
(The Telegraph; “Banning sex-selective abortion is a betrayal of women”, by Bryony Gordon, February 23, 2015) (The Guardian News; “A vote to criminalise gender-selective abortion will be a disaster for women”, February 23, 2015)
Given the statistics of approximately 5.5% of cases being related to mother and or child’s health, the defense of wholesale, unrestricted abortion on those grounds should be revisited. Even if we use a much more conservative number for health related issues of double that, 11%, that leaves 89% or 83,400 babies aborted in Canada in 2009 (Stats Canada) and 1.068 million aborted babies in the USA in 2008.
Can a compassionate and enlightened society like that of Canada, pronounce with certainty and righteous indignation that a 39wk preborn is not a human but a 29wk birthed baby is? And that a woman is discriminated against, if her unborn baby is deemed a person when it can survive outside the womb? Can a just society, assuredly and with good conscience argue for a law that states, a baby of 40 weeks gestation is not a person if her legs, or even toes are still within the mother, but seconds later this legally non human is now magically person protected by law? Is that life 2 minutes prior to birth, less of a concern than a perceived, or even evident discrimination?
The law of the land is cited along with health issues as a main line of defense for abortion. In the U.S. they hold up Roe v Wade. My next statements are for illustration and not accusatory, or in any way drawing a comparison or association. There has been times in history where laws handed down by Supreme Courts were in error. In the USA decision Dred Scott v Sandford, the Supreme Court declared blacks property and not citizens. I say this only to show that Judgments and public opinion are not always right. As pro abortion advocates will argue that the previous judicial decisions prior to 1988 in Canada were wrong.
Abortion law in Canada was struck down in 1988 (R. v Morgantoler). The number of abortions are much higher than reported by the CIHI as clinics are not required to report abortion data and abortions done in private physicians offices are not reported at all. Late term abortions could be as high as 65% if all the unreported abortions were late term. CIHI who reports 537 late term abortions in Canada in 2010 but clinics and private doctors do not report gestational ages.
In Canada between 2000 and 2010, Statistics Canada reported 279 live birth abortions at 28wks gestation or older who died. Total number of live births was 491(table 102-0536). Late term abortions are increasing. In 2010 alone there were 158 28wk or older live birth abortions reported, a dramatic increase over the decade previous. These babies were born at intensive care facilities that had the equipment to care for them, but they died anyway.
LIVE BIRTH ABORTION IS CANADA
National Post; Birth of a legal quandry: Live-birth abortions a perilous grey zone in Canada’s criminal code
“The MPs are right about the fact that between 2000 and 2009, 491 aborted fetuses indeed exhibited “evidence of life” following their removal from the womb — be it a momentary heartbeat, a sudden gasp or, in rare cases, crying.”
GENOCIDE: 50% of U.S. Black Babies are Aborted
In the United States, the black community accounts for 36% of all abortions. This is remarkable since they only represent 13.2% of the population. The CDC statistics say in 2010 138,539 black babies were aborted. 1 in 3 abortions in the U.S. are black babies. Within the black community almost half of all babies are aborted, 483 abortions for every 1,000 live births.(The Washington Times; Aborting Black America; The ‘black lives matter’ slogan excludes the unborn; By J. Kenneth Blackwell – – Wednesday, January 21, 2015 )
ABORTIONS PER COUNTRY:
With an estimated average of 43 million abortions per year globally, 1995 – 2015 estimations are that 0.9 billion lives have been taken over the previous two decades.
- 64% of women who had abortions report that they felt pressured to abort by others(1)
- A survey of women conducted 15 years after their abortions found that 75% regretted having the abortion and by their own testimony, said they made the wrong choice.(2)
- As many as 60% to 83% of women undergoing abortion would have actually preferred to give birth if only their circumstances would have been better.(3)
- Depression, 65% more likely to experience depression (4)
- Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (4)
- Suicidal, twice as likely to consider/commit suicide(4)
- Theresa Burke with David C. Reardon, Forbidden Grief: The Unspoken Pain of Abortion”, (Springfield, IL: Acorn Books), 115. Burke cites the work of Rue, “Induced Abortion and Traumatic Stress”, op. cit. (ch.1 site 1)
- Peter Kreeft, “Moral Theology of Homosexuality”, http://www.peterkreeft.com/audio/11_moral-theology/peter-kreeft_moral-theology.mp3. Kreeft cites the research of psychologist David C. Reardon from his books “Rachel Weeping” and “Abortive Women: Silent No More”.
- Theresa Burke with David C. Reardon, Forbidden Grief: The Unspoken Pain of Abortion”, (Springfield, IL: Acorn Books), 114.
Overpopulation is a lower tier argument in support for abortion but one we can look at. Most countries in the world are below the recognized birth rate of 2.1 babies per woman needed to sustain population. Canada is well below this threshold and has been since the early 1970s. The global numbers regarding population explosions are UN extrapolations, projected over the next 40 to 80 years and subject to prone to error. There are scientists who argue the planets population will level out by 2050 and begin to fall, ultimately reaching an average of 2.1 world wide.
The average number of births in large developing countries such as China, India, Indonesia, Iran, Brazil and South Africa, have declined significantly. Europe’s population is projected to decline by 14%. (United Nations, World Population Prospects: the 2012 Revision)
In Canada, there is an average of 4 people per sq. Kilometer of land. The United States has 34p/sq km.
(The World Bank – Data – population density)