Saturday, 16 May 2009

This is how a smackdown is done.

There's a slew of comments in response to Dr Dawg's posting of a video "Pro-life" savagery, produced with footage from the Forced Pregnancy Parade.

In our humble opinion however, this one from sleazebear - who should be blogging, not just leaving comments - is superb.

jimmy durante writes: "At what point do non-sentient embryos become sentient and thus, per your definition, human?"

Sentience is necessary, but not sufficient, to be considered human. Not that I'm a philosopher or anything. But that's what I'd say. As for when it happens, from what I understand (see below), medical experts say sentience isn't achieved until late in the second trimester.

But let's leave that aside. What I've always wondered, but have been too lazy to check out, is how many "late term" abortions actually happen in Canada. So, I decided to check out the statistics on this. According to my limited research (just about 10 minutes on the web), no pregnancies are viable before 20 weeks, and almost all are viable after 27 weeks.

According to Statistics Canada, in 2003, 0.7% of abortion procedures for which detailed records were available were performed after 20 weeks of gestation. (89.4% were in the first trimester when it's generally considered by medical experts that fetuses do not have a sufficiently developed to be considered sentient -- and once again, it's arguable as to whether sentience is sufficient to declare a fetus "human".) If we do a little calculation, we can make a rough estimate that probably 725 abortions that year were performed after the 20 week mark before which hardly any fetuses are viable.

So each year, only 725 abortions past 20 weeks in Canada out of more than 100,000. 0.7%. Also of interest: there are very few providers of late term abortions in Canada. They are not easy to get. According to statistics I found on a pro-life site -- a pro-life site -- there were only 49 abortions in Canada performed past the 24-week "sentience" point. That's roughly 0.04%.

Please note that the Canadian Medical Association does not endorse "elective" abortions past the 20 week mark. That means that those 725 abortions are undoubtedly almost all due to serious fetal illness or serious threats to the health of the mother. (Many severe fetal defects that result in miscarriage or death soon after birth are undetectable before 24 weeks.)

From the information that I could find, abortions past 20 weeks aren't even particularly easy to find in Canada. No doctor in Quebec performs them, for example, even in the case of fetal illness or threats to the mother.) So I'm left to wonder how many of these mythical 8-month abortions happen in Canada? From what I can tell in my admittedly quick bit of Google research, the number is probably zero. And based on the policy of the CMA, I'd be surprised to find a doctor Canada that would perform an abortion on a viable, healthy, late-term fetus when there's no threat to the health of the mother. In other words, it really is about controlling women's bodies.

Indeed. It is ALL about controlling women, and their bodies too.

13 comments:

sleazebear said...

Thanks for the kind words.

I did blog under a different name - for more than eight years, as a matter of fact - but I finally burned out. I still read other blogs, and from time to time I like to make comments.

I couldn't let the comment from Jimmy Durante go unanswered. It's the kind of thing that many people would think sounds so darn reasonable on first reading. The problem is that his reasoning falls apart when one takes a look at the facts.

SUZANNE said...

A lot of misinformation in this.

The Canadian Medical Association may not "endorse" elective abortions past 20 weeks, but that's moot, because such abortions are shipped to the US. You can apply at the CLSC des Faubourgs in Montreal.

Statistics on abortion are skewed, because late-term abortions are counted as "stillbirths" not abortions. There's a working group at the Public Health Agency of Canada that's working on ironing out the problems with the definition of "stillbirths".

So we don't actually know how many late-term abortions there are in Canada. There is almost certainly more than 700.

There are doctors who perform late-term abortions in Quebec. I can name them. You can go to the Universtie de Sherbrooke for an abortion as late as 23 weeks.

A 2002 report about perinatal mortality in 1998 from the Federation des Medecins Omnipraticiens du Quebec showed that there were dozens of late-term abortions that year, including 2 at 36 weeks.

Margaret Somerville was consulted on at least one third trimester abortion, that happened in Canada, and one for a cleft lip.

The truth is: we don't know the truth about late-term abortion. Official statistics don't tell the whole picture.

We ship our "elective" abortion cases to the US.

As if concern for unborn babies is driven by an attempt to control women's bodies. Handicapped babies are people, too. They shouldn't be killed because they have Down Syndrome. If there is no desire to parent these children, then the issue is not control over a woman's body, it's the desire not to parent.

And Morgentaler wouldn't perform abortions on babies past 16 weeks LMP. He considered late-term fetuses "babies" and actively attempted to dissuade women from having late-term abortions.

deBeauxOs said...

YOU said: There are doctors who perform late-term abortions in Quebec. ... You can go to the Universtie de Sherbrooke for an abortion as late as 23 weeks.And there's a lot of disinformation in your comments. For example, the third trimester starts at 26 weeks. That is late-term.

Morgentaler's reasons are also based on his considerable experience as an ob/gyn specialist. It becames more complicated as the pregnancy advances to medically intervene. Few doctors have the skills required to do so.

jj said...

"And Morgentaler wouldn't perform abortions on babies past 16 weeks LMP."Speaking of misinformation...
24 weeks was Dr. M's limit, not 16.
(Also, where are you getting your definition of "Late term"? "Late term" means 3rd trimester, or 26 weeks.)

"He considered late-term fetuses "babies" and actively attempted to dissuade women from having late-term abortions."As do most doctors. Which proves my oft-made point that since doctors police themselves, there's no need to legislate abortion.

fern hill said...

Scary Fundamentalist: No. A fetus is not a legal entity until it is born and no longer dependent on its mother for life. There cannot be two sets of rights in one physical body.

Mike said...

Statistics on abortion are skewed, because late-term abortions are counted as "stillbirths" not abortions.I dare say that most of the pictures on your website and your posters at anti-choice events are actually still births and not abortions, speaking of skewing things.

You also have no evidence for your assertions, while links to the statistics proving sleazbear's assertions are common and easy to find.

Fern is right - whether one considers a fetus a "person" or not is irrelevant. No "person" may exist by non-consensually living at the expense of, and off of the life of, another.

Of course, the statistics point to something very interesting - that when unregulated, and completely and truly "free market" access to abortion exists, it works. Abortion is common when all but the most fanatical would consider the fetus non-sentient, non-viable and for all practical purposes, not a person and grows less common as these factors change. Women free to choose the procedure combined with doctors also free offer a service (or not) result in exactly the correct outcome.

Of course, if SUZANNE was really serious about preventing abortions, she would wholeheartedly support contraception of all kinds. But she isn't. She is avowedly against it. Why? Because the idea of a woman with a free sexuality who can choose to control her own behavior is anathema. She is against both birth control and abortion because she needs them to punish women for daring to be independent.

That is why her and her ilk love fetuses, but seem to hate them the minute they are born. They bend over backward to keep birth control from teenagers, making it more likely they will become pregnant too early and "out of wedlock". They then prevent that same teen from controlling her body and correcting the mistake or deciding to have children only when she is ready to - they must take responsibility, you see. Having a child is punishment for daring to have sex. And once the single teen has their out of wedlock child, they are treated by these holier than thou prigs as a social pariah - a welfare queen or a whore.

Simple this is pure evil.

And even more strangely, it is completely wrong. In Canada (and Australia as I remember) and the US, the typical woman having an abortion is a married woman between 25-35 with at least one other child. That is, a woman deciding that the quality of life of her existing children and family is more important than following the mindless dogma of the likes of SUZANNE. A woman who does not come by that decision lightly.

But SUZANNE would rather all women become chattel slaves than have the ability to make that decision. She would do it by force of law and the violence that is the state.

No thanks, but I would rather not live in that totalitarian hell. And I'll be damned if I let my daughter grow up in it.

Scary Fundamentalist said...

Wondering where my comment went and how fern hill responded without my comment visible...

Sleazebear's entire "smackdown" was predicated on the notion that it might be morally questionable to electively abort viable fetuses.

jj argues that doctors police themselves from making late-term elective abortions, therefore admitting that doctors themselves even consider this to be morally questionable.

So if it's perfectly ok to abort full-term fetuses, then why is sleazebear even talking about the statistics of late-term abortions?

fern hill said...

Scary, your comment was published. I don't know what happened to make it disappear. Sorry about that. (I am the Techno-Dolt on this blog.)

Mike, bang on. Moreover, the fetus fetishists actually cause abortions to be later than they need to be by mandatory waiting periods, long-distance travel, expense, and anything else they can think of.

sleazebear said...

Scary Fundamentalist writes: So if it's perfectly ok to abort full-term fetuses, then why is sleazebear even talking about the statistics of late-term abortions?Because the person to whom my original comment was address brought up the subject of late term abortions, you dumbass.

SUZIE ALL-CAPS writes: So we don't actually know how many late-term abortions there are in Canada. There is almost certainly more than 700.Citation, please.

SUZIE ALL-CAPS writes: Handicapped babies are people, too. They shouldn't be killed because they have Down Syndrome.Irrelevant. This is not at issue.

SUZIE ALL-CAPS writes: Margaret Somerville was consulted on at least one third trimester abortion, that happened in CanadaSo what? Nobody's denying that abortions happen after 24 weeks.

SUZIE ALL-CAPS writes: And Morgentaler wouldn't perform abortions on babies past 16 weeks LMP. He considered late-term fetuses "babies" and actively attempted to dissuade women from having late-term abortions.

Proving my point that doctors in Canada don't dole out late term abortions like candy. In other words, I was correct and this is simply not an issue.

deBeauxOs said...

Sorry. I did publish that comment, then posted a comment which I then deleted. Somehow I must have done a double delete. Fortunately I was able to retrieve it from my gmail account:

Scary Fundamentalist: If you follow SleazeBear's reasoning, Would you then support a law that confers rights on fetuses at 27 weeks? If they are sentient and therefore human at that gestational age, they deserve to be protected by law - and not medical regulations.

Scary Fundamentalist said...

Thanks, deBeauxOs. Must have been a pretty amazing comment you wrote! :)

Mike writes, "whether one considers a fetus a "person" or not is irrelevant. No "person" may exist by non-consensually living at the expense of, and off of the life of, another."

Tell that to fathers who are forced to pay for child support to kids they never see. How about elderly parents who need material and emotional care from their unwilling children? What about young mothers who realize too late that they cannot care for their newborn? I guess we're justified in "aborting" all of them, too, since it is irrelevant if they are "persons" or not.

I'm sure that's not what you meant, Mike. I just sense some ethical contortions being made.

sleazebear said...

Scary Fundamentaslist writes:
"If you follow SleazeBear's reasoning, Would you then support a law that confers rights on fetuses at 27 weeks? If they are sentient and therefore human at that gestational age, they deserve to be protected by law "That does not follow from my reasoning. As I wrote, my reasoning deliberately set aside the question of whether sentience is sufficient for personhood.

And the assertion that sentience equals personhood is debatable at best. We kill and eat sentient creatures all the time.

jj said...

"jj argues that doctors police themselves from making late-term elective abortions, therefore admitting that doctors themselves even consider this to be morally questionable."No, jj doesn't "argue", jj states a fact. And sorry but there's no "gotcha" here.

There are a number of reasons to avoid late term abortions, but the main one is because it's a difficult and dangerous procedure, which is why women don't get them except in the most dire situations.

Obviously the closer the fetus gets to being a living breathing human being, the less abortion is an option. Whether that's for moral or practical reasons is beside the point -- the important thing is that doctors and patients are making these decisions themselves, without the "helpful" interference of the state.

It's absurd to suggest that any "moral" context to the decision means that it should be codified in law.

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