Last Updated:Friday - 09/24/2010
June 26, 2006
Tell all the facts about abortion
It is widely assumed that an induced abortion is safe and almost risk-free for the woman. Yet a substantial body of research indicates that an abortion presents clear hazards to a woman's physical and psychological health. Much of that research is summarized in the 2003 book Women's Health After Abortion by Elizabeth Ring-Cassidy and Ian Gentles.
The results of that research should be available to women considering an abortion. Although proponents of abortion rights say women know the risks of having an abortion, it isn't true. The evidence is not widely known at all and, at times, it is even denied.
It is not an exaggeration to say that we live in an abortion culture where abortion, if not openly promoted, is treated as a sacred cow. While patients are routinely informed about the risks of any other medical procedure, the "right" to abortion is so sacrosanct that any evidence that might lead women to decide not to have one is seen as interference with their right to choose.
Yet, Ring-Cassidy and Gentles point out that more than 500 published scientific studies document negative effects on women who undergo abortions. These detrimental effects include (but extend far beyond):
In Finland, a study of 600,000 women found a suicide rate six times greater among women who had had abortions than among those who had delivered their babies.
In the United States, 17 per cent of women having abortions said they had physical complications as a direct result of those abortions.
An Environics Research poll last fall found that 76 per cent of Albertans favour informed consent laws. Such laws would ensure that before a woman has an abortion, her physician provide her with information on:
Seventy six per cent of Albertans favour making it mandatory that women receive this information. However, the province's political parties will not deal with the issue.
One constituency association put forward a resolution on the issue to the Alberta Liberal Party policy convention earlier this month. (In the interests of disclosure, it must be noted here that the WCR editor was an instigator of that effort.) The resolution was first not included among resolutions to be considered at the convention. When an effort was made to bring it forth anyway, it (and other unrelated resolutions) were sent to the party's executive for consideration.
This fall, Alberta's Progressive Conservative Party will elect a new leader who will become the province's next premier. Candidates for that leadership should be challenged to state their views on informed consent and whether taxpayer dollars should continue to pay for abortions.
Regarding the moderate resolution presented to the Liberals, Calgary Herald columnist Tom Olsen said it "would have been at home on the furthest right-wing homesteads in southern Alberta."
Such rhetoric depicting any challenge to the abortion culture as the work of yokels is one reason why political parties are terrified to touch the issue. The media exists to further reasoned public discussion: too often it engages in ideological intimidation.
The people of Alberta overwhelmingly want informed consent laws, laws which the provincial government has the power to enact. If women have "the right to choose," they should also have a right to know.
- Glen Argan
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