In order to reach high effectiveness rates, hormonal contraceptives rely on two main mechanisms: prevention of the fertilization of a woman’s egg (prefertilization effect), and prevention of the implantation of an embryo by the modification of the lining of the uterus (postfertilization effect). The second mechanism is what we’re concerned with here. If ovulation occurs and if the egg is fertilized by a sperm, which sometimes happens, especially with today’s low-dose pills[iv], the resulting embryo will travel to the uterus and attempt implantation. However, scientific literature shows that oral contraceptives, implants, the shot, the patch[v] and IUDs make the lining of the uterus inhospitable to it. It is also clearly stated in the labels of these contraceptive methods[vi].
Mike Schouten’s article in the National Post yesterday draws attention to the fact that we will likely be expanding abortion services across Canada, but without any democratic process.
Of course there is the argument that the RU486 is a nightmarish experience for women – an hours long drama of contractions ending with the expulsion of her developing “little one”, a translation of the Latin word “fetus”.
Canada’s anti-abortion activists are urging Health Canada to consider the detrimental effects RU-486 has had on women’s health in countries where it is already in use. According to Johanne Brownrigg of Campaign Life Coalition, “In 2011, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration reported 2,200 adverse effects, including 14 U.S. deaths, 58 ectopic pregnancies, 256 infections, and 339 incidents requiring transfusions.
But then there is the abysmal double standard of a government who won’t open the debate on abortion, but it will widen the services dramatically, without public consultation.
The Conservative government, along with all the political parties in Ottawa, have denounced any attempt to debate abortion in the House of Commons. This was most recently manifested by the harsh opposition to even discussing something as benign as Motion 408, which merely sought to condemn gender-selective abortions. The news that the approval of RU-486 is imminent, with no debate, smacks of hypocrisy.
For now, the application and any decisions surrounding the infamous abortion drug have been put on hold till the Fall.
Amy Julia Becker makes a great point about finding out that her child had Down syndrome.
There is some false, yet underlying assumption that pregnant women have to go through genetic testing to know if their child has the disability.
But more importantly, that tiny bit of medical information, in essence tells us nothing. Not only are the doctors “ill-equipped to interpret test results and to offer a fair and balanced description of Down syndrome” but the fact itself does nothing to describe who these little people are. The medical information does not describe these little girls and boys, who despite their disability, will have all kinds of interests, quaint personality traits, and precious moments.
Being a parent of a child with Downs is as joy-filled and full of surprises as any parenting experience would be.
Genetic testing merely puts parents on a search and destroy mission without ever allowing them to know who their child is.
In the hospital, we received a diagnostic portrait of our child. Some of it was spot on: she has tubes in her ears and wears glasses. She needed a heart procedure. She still sees therapists every week. And yet the diagnostic portrait, even though it included some accurate facts, never showed me anything true about our daughter. It never told me that she wouldn’t love dress up clothes or baby dolls but that she would love spelling words and playing Monopoly. It never told me that she would sneak the iPad under the covers—not to play games or watch videos—but to read Matilda. It never told me she would form a friendship with my 88-year old grandmother, and that together they would read and sing and look at pictures. It never told me how much of her life would be worth celebrating.
This came out yesterday, just days before the celebration of Christmas.
Health Canada has set an internal deadline of mid-January to finally make a decision on the abortion pill, a drug that is already available in 60 countries but has been stuck in Canada’s drug-approval pipeline for more than three years.
Sadly this article does NOT accurately describe the routine consequences of the RU486 abortion pill, which for most women is a harrowing ordeal.
You can read an article that I wrote on the issue that explains the serious problems with this drug. The number of deaths world-wide stand at about 22, but the adverse effects of RU486 are much more prevalent and often under-reported.
I will be writing on this issue again in the coming year.
For now, we will not allow any Grinches to steal the joy of Christmas, so a very Merry Christmas to you all!
Many women do abort on the basis of what they consider to be a bad prenatal diagnosis. I know of one. Please think of them when you read this article, because they are highly likely to already be conflicted over their decision, and this is a very hard thing to read:
A report from Beth Daley at the New England Center for Investigative Reporting explores the story of a Rhode Island woman named Stacie Chapman, who very nearly terminated a much-wanted pregnancy at three months after a prenatal blood test called MaterniT21 predicted that her baby probably had Trisomy 18, also known as Edwards Syndrome, a serious chromosomal disorder that can lead to severe birth defects. (The median lifespan for a baby with Edwards is 15 days, and many die long before that.)
Chapman called her husband sobbing when she heard the news, then scheduled an abortion for the following day. Her doctor urged her to wait, and a follow-up test showed that her baby didn’t in fact have Edwards; her son Lincoln Samuel just turned 1 and is perfectly healthy.
Perfect made to order babies. They won’t be ready for Christmas though. It costs a lot, but if you get what you want then it’s worth it, for example a girl, not a boy in this case. Or, the right eye colour:
The same goes for details less crucial than avoiding disease, as Steinberg is about to reintroduce a service that caused quite a stir when he first announced it back in 2009: the ability to select your baby’s eye color. “We put it on hold because there was such an outcry. Even the Vatican called [to protest],” he says. “But there is so much demand for it. We’ve got a waiting list of 70 to 80 people.”
P.S. This is sarcasm as I don’t really believe that ordering the gender, eye colour or babies in general is a good idea. In fact, I must confess to being against IVF in every circumstance, for heterosexual couples as for homosexual couples. These are thorny, tough questions–painful, emotional–especially in my demographic of great women who really want a family but are getting older in the context of fertility. So I shouldn’t tread here flippantly.
The Canadian Medical Association Journal has published an article that shows how access to abortion in English speaking Canada falls behind that of Quebec. The article covers researchers, funded by the Society of Family Planning, who presented their preliminary findings of a study on access to abortion at the Family Medicine Forum in Quebec City on Nov. 12. What they found was that of the 94 abortion facilities across Canada, 46 of them are in the Province of Quebec. They claim that Quebec is a leader in “equitable access” with half of its abortion facilities in rural areas and at least one facility in every health region.
What the CMAJ article and the study are really aiming at, however, is raising the issue of “medical abortion”.
Researches claim that the poor access to surgical abortion in other provinces “puts [women] at higher risk of having a second trimester abortion and its associated complications. And for those without the resources or time to navigate the system, it may mean carrying an unwanted pregnancy to term.”
Co-investigator Dr. Edith Guilbert, a senior medical advisor at the National Institute of Public Health of Quebec had this to say:
Increasing access to medical abortion — that is, abortion induced by oral medication — could close some of the gaps in rural access because a local family doctor could administer the drug. “It saves women having to travel. It saves them having to undergo a surgical procedure.”
The article goes on to say that Health Canada has been considering approval of mifepristone (known as RU-486) since December 2012.
According to a recent CMAJ commentary (2013;186:13-14), the drug is considered the gold standard for inducing safe and early non-surgical abortion.
What they don’t, of course, mention are the deaths, complications and horrendous health hazards that have befallen women and their unborn children in BC, the US and around the world.
Three pro-abortion feminists wrote an incredibly well researched book entitled “RU486 – Myths and Misconceptions” in 1992, describing RU-486 as a “new form of medical violence that endangers women’s lives and violates their right to be free from bodily harm”.
One of the authors, Renata Klein, wrote an open letter to MPs in Australia in 2005 , stating that:
“Then, as now, some of you will be astonished that as an internationally recognized feminist and academic who has worked on reproductive issues for 25 years and strongly supports a woman’s right to safe legal abortion, I will side with what are seen as conservative and anti-abortion views.
However, then, as now, I cannot support the view that chemical abortion is seen (a) as good reproductive choice for women, and (b) as a safe alternative to already available abortion by aspiration. I write to you because I am appalled by the misinformation given to the public by supporters of RU-486, who continue to claim chemical abortion is safe, and who portray it as a simple procedure; take three RU486 pills and –bingo! You are no longer pregnant.”
Any person who would dare to support chemical abortion, RU-486, must read this book and the other real-life testimonies of women who have suffered the days, even weeks, of agony and gore as a result of this monstrous chemical concoction.
Margaret Somerville tackles the ethical questions raised by egg freezing. Her review of the issue again makes clear that some reproductive “choices” offered to women leave us with fewer real choices and less freedom:
However, as Seema Mohapatra points out in an article in the Harvard Law and Policy Review, offering egg freezing could mean women who choose not to postpone childbearing might be seen as not sufficiently committed to their career, thus harming their progress. Do such coercive possibilities mean a decision to postpone is not autonomous and free? Is that also true if a woman’s parents offer to pay for freezing and storage, because they want to ensure they will have grandchildren?
I read some medical and sociological journal articles a few weeks on the impact of abortion on women. Guess what? Since abortion on demand has been available, a significant number of women have felt coerced and pressured into abortion by partners, parents, friends and their medical practitioners. They felt trapped and hopeless. Even indifference by partners and family or hearing the refrain “we’ll support whatever you choose” made many feel like they were alone in their circumstances and that they had no real choice in the matter.
Sometimes a choice offered to us really isn’t a true choice.