I watched the recent exchange between Joyce Arthur and Don Hutchinson on the CBC; precipitated by Stephen Woodworth's wanting to discuss our 400 year old law that excludes preborn children from the definition of “human being.”
Arthur says that late-term abortions are only done in "exceptional circumstances".
Arthur also says that abortions after 20 weeks gestation are "extremely rare".
How does Arthur know the gestational ages of these abortions and the reasons for them? Because the rest of us don't know.
What do we know?
We know that for 2009, CIHI reported a total of 93,755 clinic and hospital abortions. Of these abortions, 70,069* have "unknown" gestational age.
That means all of those 70,069, or most of them, or some of them, or none of them, could be late term abortions--we just don't know. That's what "unknown" means. And we don’t know these gestational ages because most abortion providers choose not to report them.
We also have no idea what the reasons were, since reasons are not reported.
We do know that in 2009 there were at least 552 late term hospital abortions.
We also know that there were actually more abortions performed in Canada than the total 93,755 reported by CIHI. In fact the total could be 30% - 50% higher.
It is certainly possible that Joyce Arthur knows all the gestational ages of these abortions and what their "exceptional circumstances" are. If she does, then the onus is on her to divulge this information to CIHI so CIHI can report it to the public; if she chooses to keep secret the evidence she supposedly has, we can only assume she doesn't in fact have any evidence at all to substantiate her claims. Somehow, I think the latter is the case. But I'd be very happy if Ms. Arthur could prove me wrong.
Even if Arthur can prove there are "only" 552 late abortions per year, does that mean late abortions are "extremely rare"? As a percentage of the total number of abortions, it might seem "rare". But a small percentage of a large number, is still a large number in absolute terms--552 viable babies killed every year. Are we supposed to take comfort in the fact that in relative terms there are so many fewer late term abortions than early abortions? That just means we have many, many, many, many early abortions.
(* 70,069 unknown gestational age abortions = 93,755 total known abortions - 23,686 known gestational age abortions)