Friday, 1 February 2013

Demonizing Late-Term Abortion Must Stop

Because Canadians are ignorant on the facts of abortion in Canada*, the Fetus Lobby® is able to get away with repeated -- and unrefuted -- lies and distortions.

Like this from Jonathan Kay today. Writing about Vellacott et al.'s ridiculous grandstanding, he says:
The fact is that Canada is the only nation in the Western world without any abortion law. It is perfectly legal in Canada to have or perform an abortion — for any reason, or no reason at all — at 20, 25, 30 or 35 weeks gestation. This is a disturbing state of affairs.
While this is true in the strictly legal sense, it is outrageously misleading.

There are no legal restrictions, but there are medical restrictions and regulations, worked out over the past 25 years by women and healthcare providers.

The facts are available.

• Fewer than 1% of abortions are carried out after 20 weeks' gestation.

• NO abortions are done after 24 weeks in Canada.

• There are very few doctors who will perform abortions past 20 weeks.

• The vast majority of these so-called late-term abortions are medically necessary because of catastrophic fetal anomaly or serious threat to the woman's life or health.

In other words, they are tragic endings of wanted pregnancies.

Yet these tragedies are routinely trotted out by heartless anti-choicers to be demonized as frivolous or irresponsible or convenient.

They have no compunction about trivializing a family's grief and loss as some silly woman's decision that she needs to fit into a bikini six months into her pregnancy.

You want to talk 'disturbing', Jonathan? Think of a woman going through the harrowing discovery of some horrible condition, the gut-wrenching decision on what to do about it, the painful and protracted process of a later-term abortion, and the ensuing grief and self-recrimination. (What did I do wrong?)

Now think of her reading your breezy brain-farts and reliving her experience.

That's disturbing.

Every fucking time this no-restrictions-at-all-for-all-nine-months canard gets an airing in the media, professional healthcare organizations should DEMAND that the outlet retract or clarify.

The Society of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists should assign someone to full-time Bullshit Watch. (Bloggers like me will help.)

They owe it to their patients.

*Actually, that so few people are aware of the facts might be seen as a good thing. Canadians believe that abortion is a private matter and assume that it is available if necessary.


Beijing York said...

"Every fucking time this no-restrictions-at-all-for-all-nine-months canard gets an airing in the media, professional healthcare organizations should DEMAND that the outlet retract or clarify."


So now they want to prosecute obstetricians who are dealing with catastrophic situations faced by their patients?

So far, the fetus fetishists have targeted:

1) Women as too stupid, slutty or selfish to carry through with a pregnancy;

2) Immigrants from dark lands with stone-age anti-women attitudes who only love male babies; and

3) Doctors, probably atheists and admirers of Dr. Mengele who rejoice in having a legal outlet for their sadistic practices.

Miss Vicky said...

thank you. that is all.

choice joyce said...

I agree. In fact, I'm starting to think that this constant repetition of the lie that "women can get abortions for any reason or no reason up to the moment of birth" is a form of hate speech against women and doctors. It can't be attributed to ignorance or unthinking prejudice, because the anti's have been repeatedly told the facts and yet they continue to repeat this malicious lie.

Asking the SOGC to counteract this is a great idea - maybe they could issue some kind of official statement that we and the media could then cite as a highly reputable source.

Anonymous said...

Jason Kenney accused the Foothills Hospital in Calgary of committing infanticide in 1999 and convinced the RCMP to investigate. Everyone was exonerated of course. Are conservative MPs are uneducable?

Anonymous said...

Joyce Joyce Joyce, please get a grip. Bad enough that you don't want the Anti-Choice to fly their flags, raise funds for their charities, declare weeks for life, know any of the abortion numbers and even inform people of the law regarding bubble Zones. Now you want to sick the SOGC on them for telling the truth. Time magazine was right. You have been losing ever since you won back in 88. Next you will be wanting to set up camps for their re-education; or else.

karen said...

I am so glad you post all this.

The idea of criminalizing a medically necessary abortion after 20 weeks is monstrous.

Why? Why? Why do the fetishists seem to believe that anyone (everyone?) who supports a woman's right to choose is running around having abortions for fun?!

fern hill said...

@Anonymous, who sounds suspiciously like our pal Ted Gurk, you're on notice.

Actually, Ted, it's me who wants to sic (note correct spelling) the SOGC on fetus fetishists who would trivialize the suffering of women and families to further their hopeless crusade.

Talk to me. This is my blog.

Sixth Estate said...

That's an incredible article. He went to great effort to appear to debunk the new Vellacott argument, and then ended with... piddle. This in particular is kind of amazing:

But all those caveats having been said, should we blame pro-life advocates for taking any avenue they can to advance their cause — even a long shot such as this one?

Yes. We should blame them. If they publish a letter claiming that potentially life-saving medical interventions should be prosecuted as murder, then we've moved well beyond any "debate" about elective abortion, legitimate or otherwise, and we absolutely have the right to condemn them as the shits that they are.

John Hof (Annonymous) said...

Sorry Fern not Ted this time but thanks for the compliment. Thanks also for the correction on the sic spelling. My bad.

Check out the google results for Ximena Renaerts. She has almost nine million reasons why she would think these MPs have a good case. Her very NDP and progressive lawyer, Tom Berger, saw to it that she was respected for who she was after her attempted abortion.

fern hill said...

A sad case from nearly 30 years ago? The medicos were probably scared and confused because abortion was still illegal then.

Much like Savita Halappanavar in Ireland recently.

You prove the point, John. Abortion is best left to medical professionals as a purely medical issue.

When the law gets involved, bad shit happens.

Anonymous said...

Vancouver doctor Jonathan Cope, who presented a paper called "Late Abortion Techniques" at UBC's Medical Symposium on Abortion in 1997, lists a number of reasons women have late-term abortions: "women are awaiting results from genetic testing, women don't know they are pregnant, woman are abandoned by the father which is a common reason, particular areas (of British Columbia) give women difficulty getting referrals (for an abortion), (there is) fear of parental retribution, or that the husband (of the pregnant mother) wants a boy."

He explained that second-trimester abortions "in British Columbia tend to be concentrated in just a few hands because late-term abortions are physically unpleasant. They aren't popular among surgeons" because, as he described in his symposium presentation Secrets for a Successful Evacuation, infants are almost fully developed, clearly look like babies, and can survive outside the womb.

Cope wrote, "It is advisable to use the biggest forceps that you can get through the (woman's) cervix to morcellate (a medical term meaning to cut up) the fetus.... Visually check all the parts as they are retrieved.... This is part of the reason that second- trimester abortion is not popular among surgeons. All those here who do second-trimester abortions will agree that the most difficult ones are those between 14 and 17 weeks ... there is a tendency for the uterus to form an `hourglass' and the head (of the baby) or part of the trunk to be trapped in the upper part and difficult to retrieve. The passage of large, recognizable fetal parts by the woman some hours or days later is extremely distressing for the woman and her family."

Beijing York said...

Nice shock tactics, Anon 8:01 pm.

My mother had a late term miscarriage in the 60s, at a stage that today may or may not have been "viable" with NICU intervention to sustain life that is now feasible. I'm sure that the medical staff handling the miscarriage were equally upset at seeing fairly formed twin fetuses miscarried. I am very sure that late term miscarriages are very unpleasant for everyone involved, including the woman.

Screw off with your scare tactics and misinformation.

fern hill said...

Thing is -- all surgery and most medical interventions in general is yucky. Shock tactics like Anon 8:01 pm's are simply cheap shots. Easy. And worthless as evidence/argument/sense.

Anonymous said...

What the hell? Now shock tactics are 'cheap shots'. Whenever anti-abortionists talk about restricting abortion you never fail to remind us that women are going to die in back alley's. That's shock tactics Dammit! (Last time I checked European countries with restrictions didn't have women dying in back alley's!)

deBeauxOs said...

In the UK, nine out of a hundred neonates born at 23 weeks of gestation will survive; only one of them will live a fully able-bodied life.

What this means is that 91 of every hundred fetuses born at 23 weeks of gestation in the UK will die in the neonatal intensive care unit, eight others will be afflicted for the rest of their lives with grave handicaps or severe medical conditions while only one will be able to live an ordinary life.

Only one percent.

From here.

fern hill said...

@Anon at 9:45, if you are going to talk about abortion, educate yourself. 'Restrictions' in civilized European countries amount to, in effect, the same regime as obtains in Canada.

And you're done now. If you can't pluralize properly, you don't belong on a literate blog.

deBeauxOs said...

Anonymous, unless you contribute accurate facts or scientific information to this discussion thread, fern hill or I may decide to disregard your comment and it will NOT be published.

Stop shriEEEking. Stop inciting violence against women. Stop lying.

Skulander said...

Good blogpost! Yes, late-term abortions are controversial. Of course they are! But people fail to understand that those abortions are of WANTED pregnancies. It's not like the woman really has the choice, now, has she? Often it is to save her life. Or, it is because the fetus is so ill that it stands no chances of survival.

So yes. I DO agree that physicians should demand more accountability from the medai, every time someone claims abortions are done for whatever reason throughout the whole pregnancy.

That's simply not true. And even THEY know that's not true. But they are willfully lying to women and the public. THAT'S what makes me mad. The willful distortion of facts for cheap political gains.

Sixth Estate said...

Anonymous 8:01 appears to be a copy-and-paste job. As usual, it's almost certainly an out-of-context copy-and-paste job. I can't for the life of me imagine a serious surgeon standing up in front of a UBC medical conference and saying that second-trimester abortions are problematic because the fetus looks human or because fetuses are generally viable throughout the second trimester. (I'm not big on math, but I'm fairly certain there's a large flaw in this last point.)

"Often it is to save her life. Or, it is because the fetus is so ill that it stands no chances of survival."

This is what makes the recent push against late-term abortions so obscene to me. In their rush to find what they think is a legal loophole that will let them press their case, an anti-choice crusade that claims to be concerned about elective abortions is now targeting the abortions which are least likely to be objectively elective in nature.

fem_progress said...

As another poster asked, my question is simple.

Why? Why do they feel obliged to micromanage women's uteruses? Is it the patriarchal urge to control EVERYTHING?

Doctors have codes of ethics and practice and so do hospitals. They don't do these procedures for fun.

Ellen Durkee said...

Someone very close to me had a late term abortion, not because she didnt want the child (it would have been her second) but because the baby would not have survived, there was also the worry that should the foetus die before 40 weeks and remain undelivered there could be serious physical, not to mention emotional dangers to the mother. The foetus had developed without a full scull, most of the brain was not encased. The abortion, chemical induced labour, was horrific.. not a choice anyone ever wanted to make. Idiots suggesting ANY woman after carrying a child for 20+ weeks are rushing out will nilly to get rid of a nuisance, are either uneducated, ignorant, or..Conservatives (Men in this case)bent on controlling the one thing they'll never master..They fear women, they fear strong independent women especially.. This is just one way they fight back.

Anonymous said...

"Abortion is best left to medical professionals as a purely medical issue -fernhill

Like Doctor Kermit Gosnell? He sure had the support of the pro-choice community...

A, yes...a fine example of what happens when the law stays silent and things are left to "medical professionals"

fern hill said...

Again, you prove the point, John or Ted or whoever Anon at 12:20 is.

Here is my original take on Gosnell.

Precisely because USian fetus fetishists have been so successful in demonizing abortion, greedy quacks like Gosnell are able to prey on vulnerable, scared, poor women, who don't complain or report bad experiences. They're just grateful that someone helped them.

When abortion is treated like the ordinary medical procedure that it is, doctors, patients, and regulators can operate in the clear light of day. And we know that's the best disinfectant.

Bring us a case of a Canadian Gosnell, Anon, or STFU.

Sixth Estate said...

Like Doctor Kermit Gosnell? He sure had the support of the pro-choice community...

If you're going to outlaw a medical discipline every time you find a single fraudulent practitioner of it, we're going to have to close a lot of hospitals.

John Hof said...

Kermit Gosnell is an American case. He had filthy office conditions and used untrained staff.
This past Saturday the Ottawa Citizen has a bit of a criticism of an abortion provider. (Remember Gosnell was inspected numerous times.) From the Citizen I quote,
"The other Ottawa clinic to fail an inspection was the Dr. Wee-Lim Sim Medical Practice at 371 Friel St., near Laurier Avenue East and King Edward Avenue.
It was ordered not to perform therapeutic abortions, as the “minimal expected standard” for anesthesia was not used, according to a report dated July 18, 2011. It also found the clinic lacked various monitoring and resuscitation equipment and drugs, and that staff did not hold all of the proper qualifications.
A policy and procedure manual couldn’t be provided and floors and walls were cluttered, the report indicated.
Sim, who specializes in obstetrics and gynecology, said Friday that the findings pertained to his facility, not his skills as a doctor. He no longer offers abortions at his clinic following the college’s investigation, he said.
“It’s only my place that the college failed because it’s not a surgical suite, but in my opinion, it’s a skill and experience and not how many tools you have, because I have been doing surgical abortions for 47 years in my office safely,” he said.
“When they came they found that I didn’t have all of these registered nurses, I didn’t have an operating table, I didn’t have all of the things that they wanted, so they decided that I couldn’t do these things, which is fine.”

Now so many things jump out here. 47 years ago is 1965-66. Abortions were illegal then. In fact abortion clinics could not exist until Henry brought them out of the back alley back in 1988 a mere 25 years ago. Perhaps the good doctor Sim was one of those. Please go to the paper and see the photo of his “office.” I am confident just walking in that this man is going to take good care of his patients.

fern hill said...

What is your point, John?

This is not a Canadian Gosnell. This seems to be a case of an inspection system working as it was intended.

BTW, Gosnell was NOT inspected adequately.

This is the last irrelevant comment from you that I'm allowing.

John Hof said...

Thank you for the time you have given me. This is your blog and you are in control.

Sixth Estate said...

Don't give up that easily, John! Regale us with the details of the second clinic in that article that failed its tests. I'm sure it's an abortion clinic too, right? Another place where fetuses are bullied all day...?

Oh, wait, no. It's an endoscopy clinic.


Ahem. Sorry, fern. Don't know where that came from. Please continue. I'm better now, honestly.

John Hof said...

That was cute and funny Sixth Estate. I do notice that there is a class action lawsuit against the other clinic mentioned in the story. Nothing against Dr. Sim yet. He is not a "Canadian Gosnell" as you pointed out Fern. You mentioned Gosnell was "not inspected adequately" I humbly point to the Grand jury Investigation report which categorically states quite the opposite. I will probably be kicked off for linking this so its been a slice.

From the Kermit Gosnell Grand Jury Report:

"So too with the National Abortion Federation. NAF is an association of abortion providers that upholds the strictest health and legal standards for its members. Gosnell, bizarrely, applied for admission shortly after Karnamaya Mongar's death. Despite his various efforts to fool her, the evaluator from NAF readily noted that records were not properly kept, that risks were not explained, that patients were not monitored, that equipment was not available, that anesthesia was misused. It was the worst abortion clinic she had ever inspected. Of course, she rejected Gosnell's application. She just never told anyone in authority about all the horrible, dangerous things she had seen.

...[t]he Pennsylvania Department of Health abruptly decided, for political reasons, to stop inspecting abortion clinics at all. The politics in question were not anti-abortion, but pro. With the change of administration from Governor Casey to Governor Ridge, officials concluded that inspections would be "putting a barrier up to women" seeking abortions. Even nail salons in Pennsylvania are monitored more closely for client safety. Without regular inspections, providers like Gosnell continue to operate; unlawful and dangerous third-trimester abortions go undetected; and many women, especially poor women, suffer."

fern hill said...

No link, John. You want to try to substantiate what you're saying?

Sixth Estate said...

Don't try and wriggle out of this, John. If you're going to say that abortion clinics are a problem because a bad one was mentioned in an article, you've got to argue that internal medicine is a problem on the same grounds, because an endoscopy clinic was also attacked in the very same article.

Will you agree with me that endoscopies are a seriously dangerous and possibly immoral medical procedure which should maybe be banned?

If not, I'm not sure why you're wasting your time on this point.

John Hof said...

Hope this works. I'm still reading the report. 281 pages. Not pleasant reading.

fern hill said...

I don't have time (or interest) to read the whole thing, but the bits I read listed decades-long neglect by the Department of Health. Not inspected, not followed up. They did not even respond to complaints.

All of Section 6, pp, 137-218, titled "How Did This Go On So Long?"

You must have upside-down brain to read that as the 'categorical opposite' of 'not adequately inspected'.

deBeauxOs said...

John Hof:

The author - in this case, fern hill - moderates the comments in response to her blogpost and decides which are published.

Your comments aptly illustrate the fundamentalist ideology and gynophobia that is characteristic of Fetus Lobby and anti-Choice zealots.

Keep hanging yourself with your own rope. Keep those comments coming!

John Hof said...

Apologies for my upside down brain and for continuing on about the Gosnell Grand Jury report. It is a disgusting document and I am sure you and I share the sincere hope we never find another man like him. His "specialty" was doing the late term ones and he completely lost all sense of helping women with his services and will deservedly spend the rest of his life in jail.

The NAF part has always puzzled me. How it got so bad for so long and no one noticed.

fern hill said...

As I said when the Gosnell story broke, it is the starkest example of why abortion must be legal.

And as I said at the time, fetus fetishists like JH, will have paroxysms of joy over it. Gosell is the new poster boy for Evil Abortionist.

And that's enough drift on this post.

John Hof said...


True confession. I am a bigotted right wing anti choice Christian. Have never claimed otherwise. Choice Joyce can verify. We have known each other for many years. I will show myself out now.

fern hill said...

We had that figured out all on our own, JH.

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