Thursday, 4 October 2012

Lies Canadian Journalists Tell

The conversation seems to have begun. What can consumers of Canadian journalism expect in the way of honesty?

If the recent (and ongoing?) Margaret Wente fustercluck is any indication, not much.

Today, there is another spectacular example of dishonesty, larded with bonus condescension.

In the National Post, Barbara Kay writes about abortion and informed consent.

First, check out the language.
Everyone has a different reason for killing her unwanted fetus. Reminding them of when life begins is not going to change their minds, even those who are killing them for gender reasons.

I think we need another approach. We should not be looking at regulations over women’s bodies, but at regulations over their minds. By that I mean we should consider imposing a set of regulations to ensure that when abortions take place, they are occurring in the light of informed consent. And we need an abortion registry to gather data. Almost everyone in this abortion debate is ridiculously under-informed.
She offers no proof for this blithe statement of universal ignorance at this point. (We'll get to her undercover work in a bit.)

Trust her. Women have no idea what they're doing when they seek abortions. And no one tells them anything.

Ms Kay offers examples of the kind of information withheld from the poor clueless women, consisting of the usual myths about abortion, without links or attribution.

For the following assertion, she offers two links.
Risk of death also increases with each abortion.
The first actually disproves the assertion and is, in fact, often cited by the pro-choice side. (Got her linkies mixed up maybe?)
Thus, between 1972 and 1978, women were about seven times more likely to die from childbirth than from legal abortion, with the gap increasing in the more recent years.
The next link is to an online only abstract for a study by our old pals Priscilla Coleman and David Reardon, and another we haven't heard of before, B.C. Calhoun.

Those first two names should ring alarm bells with regular DJ! readers. We remember
Priscilla Coleman, don't we? The BAD(biased, agenda-driven) scientist whose work is regularly slammed by real scientists. One recent study was found to be so fatally flawed in the service of the anti-choice cause that even the editor of the journal where it appeared agreed.
A study purporting to show a causal link between abortion and subsequent mental health problems has fundamental analytical errors that render its conclusions invalid, according to researchers at the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF) and the Guttmacher Institute. This conclusion has been confirmed by the editor of the journal in which the study appeared. Most egregiously, the study, by Priscilla Coleman and colleagues, did not distinguish between mental health outcomes that occurred before abortions and those that occurred afterward, but still claimed to show a causal link between abortion and mental disorders.
We confidently expect that Coleman's colleagues will turn their attention to this one in due course.

Another link points to a Finnish study that Kay 'explains' in confusing prose also proves elevated mortality risk associated with abortion. I read it and it says nothing about actual causes of death, but is, in fact, concerned with the classification of maternal death.

Now the howler. I'm not going to link to the old 1989 chestnut claiming that abortion causes breast cancer.

This lie has been debunked so often and so thoroughly that any supposedly reputable newspaper that prints it should be taken out behind the woodshed and whupped.

Next, Kay says that she sent a 'sleuth' into three different abortion clinics who was either refused information or lied to.

Well. Barbara Kay says so.

She ends with:
That’s the route we should be going. Informed consent, a consultation in which all the information is discussed, including a stern discussion on gender-based abortion if necessary, a 24-48 hour reflection period, and an offer to view an ultrasound. Is that such a terrible affront to women? I don’t think so. It could in fact save them from a great deal of anguish later on. And if it saves a few babies from being killed, is that so terrible either?
Must regulate those benighted women's minds, eh?

Kay herself seems to be woefully ignorant of the 14-page (PDF available here) 'Induced Abortion Guidelines' issued by the Society of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists of Canada.

Here's what it says about 'counselling'.
Every woman seeking abortion should receive supportive and compassionate counselling on all the options available, including continuing the pregnancy and having the child adopted or seeking assistance should she wish to parent. Counselling should take place early enough to avoid any delays in the event the woman chooses to terminate the pregnancy. The counsellor should be free of personal bias and responsive to the woman’s circumstances.

If the woman chooses to terminate the pregnancy she must have the opportunity to fully understand the nature of the proposed procedure including the type of anaesthesia, safety, potential immediate and long-term complications, and side effects.

The patient needs to know that her care is completely confidential unless she is below the age of consent (see Informed Consent).

Contraceptive counselling, including risk behaviour and risk reduction strategies (including those to prevent sexually transmitted infections), before and after the termination is imperative to reduce the risk of recurrent unintended pregnancy. The advantages and disadvantages of available contraceptive methods that fit the individual woman’s needs, as well as when and how the method of choice will be initiated, should be explained. The physician must assure the patient of the availability of post-abortion counselling.
And here's the section on 'informed consent'.
It is essential to obtain the patient’s written consent for both medical and surgical methods of pregnancy termination. The physician must make sure that the woman understands the nature and the potential complications of the procedure and that she has the necessary information to make an informed decision.

If a minor presents for abortion accompanied by a parent, it is important to ensure the youth was not coerced and the decision is voluntary. In Canadian common law and in some provinces “age of consent” follows the “mature minor” rule: the legal right to make health care decisions depends on decision-making ability rather than age; in other provinces the age of consent is consistent with the age of majority.6 The key element is the minor’s competence and capacity to understand the consequences of the procedure and the potential for complications, not her chronological age. In provinces that have not adopted the mature minor rule, health care providers can treat minors when appropriate without parental involvement, as common law invariably overrides local legislation. However, there should be documentation that the health care provider discussed the importance of involving parents in health decisions, and there must also be a reasonable impression that the intervention is in the best interests of the minor. It is imperative that health care providers be aware of the laws of the province in which they work.

In short, Kay is lying.

She's lying about the risks of abortion.

She's lying about what information is offered to Canadian women.

This, of course, is nothing new.

But in the wake of Wente's public shaming, I'm wondering if there is anything to be done about it. Any body we can complain to?

We here at DJ! will continue to patiently document the lies, distortions, and scare-mongering of anti-choicers. Maybe we'll have to persist for a few more years, as Media Culpa did, before anyone pays any attention.

Oh well.


Sixth Estate said...

"Informed consent, a consultation in which all the information is discussed, including a stern discussion on gender-based abortion if necessary,"

How exactly will be determine when the stern discussion is necessary? Will clinics be issued with an official skin colour guide to determine how brown someone must be before they get the Don't Kill Female Fetuses lecture? Will the lecture itself be prepared by the government?

Maybe Woody and Jason the Virgin Kenney could write up the lecture together and disseminate it.

Kev said...

Wait...WHAT! An Abortion registry? Can you get anymore Orwellian than that. The data she says a registry would provide is already available and Kay knows it. So if it isn't about gathering data I wonder what other use a registry could be, oh wait I know. Damn

Cold North Wind said...

Beek is a fathers' rights(abusers' rights)/PAS (fake syndromes) fan also. All round hate for women and children. Projection ?????? Keep on this- PLEASE ! and- thank you.

fern hill said...

I think this comment is attached to the wrong post. You want to clarify?

fern hill said...

Yes, indeedy. That's exactly what makes sex-selective abortion so toxic. Misogyny plus bonus Racism! Win-win for the haters.

Oemissions said...

anyone who says that:" killing a fetus" is totally lacking in empathy for women and absolutely disrespectful to our medical practitioners.
I thought this was about terminating a pregnancy.

Anonymous said...

When I went for an abortion 10 years ago in a Quebec clinic, I was examined by a nurse the week before the procedure, where she asked me if I knew what an abortion was, listened to my answer, and then described, in broad but clear terms, what the procedure would entail, what medications I would be given, how long it would take, what I should prepare for afterwards, what number to call if I had questions, and that I could talk to a counselor now or after, if I felt I needed it. I presumed this was standard, and I presume charitably that this is what these people are thinking about when they say women seeking abortions need to be given full information. If I was not so charitable, I'd suspect they'd say this nurse didn't give me enough information concerning what a horrible human being I was, which was the really RELEVANT information.

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