Friday, March 30, 2012

More abortion statistics for Ontario for 2009 and 2010

Further to my last Freedom of Information (FOI) request to the Ontario Ministry of Health and Long-term care, I recently submitted another FOI. I had not asked for this service code in my last FOI.

I asked for:
"How many claims, and how many dollars, did physicians bill for, for medical management of termination of pregnancy, that is, service code A920 with diagnostic code 635, broken down by hospitals, clinics, and physicians' office, in each of 2009 and 2010?"

This is what I learned:

In 2009 under diagnostic code 635 (Therapeutic abortion) there were 82 abortions done at a cost of $10,797.64. In 2010 under this same code, there were 94 abortions done at a cost of $11,538.52.

In 2009 under diagnostic code 895 (Family planning, contraceptive advice, advice on sterilization or abortion) there were 221 services done at a cost of $30,321.20. In 2010 there were 261 services done at a cost of $35,809.20.

In 2009 under code NA (Non-specific diagnostic code) there were 88 services done at a cost of $12,032.44. In 2010 there were 102 services done at a cost of $13,912.08. 

There was also a diagnostic code for which I received information, that confused me. I have asked the Ministry to clarify it before I report on it.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Margaret Somerville responds

I recently wrote about Margaret Somerville's article in the Ottawa Citizen, called The profound complexities of informed consent to abortion.

This prompted a response by letter writer Michelle Dewar in Unbiased debate needed.

Dr. Somerville then sent in this (unpublished) letter to the Ottawa Citizen:

The Ottawa Citizen
Dear Editor,

In response to Michelle Dewar’s criticisms ("Unbiased debate needed", Ottawa Citizen March 26, 2012) of my article, (“The profound complexities of informed consent to abortion”, Ottawa Citizen March 23, 2012), I agree the article is “one woman’s story” (its original title). But, contrary to Dewar’s view, we need to listen to such stories. They are a valid basis, although certainly not the only one, for doing ethics – an approach called “narrative ethics”.

And, of course, facts are important, but the facts in my article are how Anna perceived and experienced what happened to her. If that was a rare event, as Dewar implies, so much the better, but Kathleen Gray’s comments, which are quoted in the article, indicate otherwise. And it’s clear that pro-choice supporters don’t like such facts.

Dewar argues that “one anonymous, anecdotal story … cannot be taken as scientific evidence for what is the typical experience of women in Quebec” and that we need  “evidence based, reasoned argument”. While very important, “scientific evidence” is not the only evidence relevant to ethics. It’s often said in ethics that “we  ignore our feelings at our ethical peril“. What that tells us, and scientific research is now confirming, is that examined emotions and moral intuition can guide us ethically, but, of course, our conclusions on those bases need to be checked out with reason.

As to the criticism of the story being “anonymous”, surely Dewar wouldn’t expect it to be otherwise from an ethical perspective. Anna was very brave in allowing it to be told at all. As she said, she felt that doing so might help other women and, if so, that was the only good that could come out of this situation.

And regarding Dewar’s criticism of not mentioning the “social assistance” available, why didn’t the abortion clinic tell Anna about this? One could argue that it, too, should be disclosed as part of obtaining informed consent to abortion as “information that would be material to a reasonable person in the same circumstances”.

Margaret Somerville

Sunday, March 25, 2012

A message we don't want to hear

In The profound complexities of informed consent to abortion, Margaret Somerville tells us about a woman who has had an abortion, and who subsequently struggles with her decision.

It is a sad story, typical of many women we hear about, who have abortions and regret them afterwards.

The woman Anna (not her real name) regrets her decision, and tells us why. She had no support systems. She was told to "get on with it - have an abortion". Anna tells us she is "terribly upset". A nurse tells her it's just a clump of cells. And on and on it goes.

Dr. Somerville goes on to explain the complexities and importance of real informed consent, which didn't seem to happen in Anna's situation.

The story is well worth the read.

What I found surprising and deeply disturbing though, were some of the comments posted on-line about the article. Many of these anonymous comments were from people who we can only assume are "pro-choice".

Instead of showing any compassion for the woman involved, these comments try and make Anna out as some kind of moron because she regrets what she has done. It seems that should a woman actually regret her abortion and end up concluding that all the ways she was supposed to feel don't ever materialize, then she is somehow stupid and worthy of scorn.

This is very confusing. "Pro-choice" people keep telling us that they care for the woman. Isn't that what they tell us over and over again? And that all pro-lifers care about is the unborn child?

But that's not what these comments are telling us. They are telling us that unless a woman is happy with her abortion, unless a woman actually celebrates her abortion, then there must be something wrong with her. These commenters are not supporting the very woman they keep telling us they care about.

So what's happening here? Why are these commenters shooting the messenger? It's because Anna is the messenger of a message they can't bear to hear. Hearing the message, and acknowledging that what happened to Anna does occur, would challenge their convictions that having an abortion is no problem at all. That maybe they are wrong. And this they cannot face.

Friday, March 23, 2012

A refresher course for pro-abortions

There are so many things wrong with what Joyce Arthur says in her article attacking Stephen Woodworth’s motion, but I’ll focus here on just a few points where she plays fast and loose with the facts.
1. Ms. Arthur says:
“The Supreme Court has already decided the issue.”
Wrong. The Supreme Court has repeatedly and consistently left it up to Parliament to decide this issue. Did Arthur not read Ken Epp’s response to her in 2008 when she made similar misleading comments about Bill C-484 (Unborn Victims of Crime Act), or has she simply forgotten?

On page 20 Mr. Epp says:
The courts have said that the fetus is not a “person” in Canadian law, and this is because our existing law does not recognize the fetus as a person. So the Courts have simply acknowledged the law as it stands today. But the Supreme Court has also said on numerous occasions that Parliament has a legitimate interest in the protection of the fetus and that it is not up to the courts to decide how to provide this protection – in spite of the fetus not being a “person” according to existing law – it is up to the legislature, that is, Parliament, to decide. Contrary to Ms. Arthurs claim that C-484 “flies in the face of several Supreme Court of Canada rulings,” C-484, in fact, is reinforced by Supreme Court of Canada rulings, including the very three cases Ms. Arthur cites, namely, Dobson v. Dobson, Tremblay v. Daigle, and Winnipeg and Child Family Services v. D.F.G.”

Mr. Epp then goes on to describe in detail these three cases and how the SCC clearly stated how it is within Parliament’s jurisdiction to protect preborn children in law.

2. Ms. Arthur says:
Giving personhood to fetuses invites criminal prosecution of pregnant women for negative outcomes”
and then goes on to condemn C-484 and says:
“At the time, the U.S.-based group National Advocates for Pregnant Women prepared a 15-page brief for ARCC-CDAC, documenting the hundreds of unjust cases of prosecutions of pregnant women in the U.S.”

She conveniently omitted to tell the reader that Ken Epp also refuted those NAPW claims in his other report called, Claims that US “fetal homicide / “unborn victims of violence” laws target pregnant women: A Smoke-screen to attempt to discredit Bill C-484.

3. Ms. Arthur says in point 6:
abortions after 20 weeks are rare in Canada – virtually all are confined to cases of fetal abnormality where the fetus cannot survive after birth.”

I’ve already challenged Ms. Arthur to provide evidence of how many late-term abortions occur every year and the reason for each one in The great pro-abortion urban legend.

I’m still waiting for that evidence. You’d think that if she wanted people to believe her, she would provide some evidence to back up her claims.

All we do know, is that the number of late abortions is somewhere between 552 and 70,621 (that's 552 known late term abortions, plus 70,069 unknown gestational age abortions) and we have seen no published data on the reasons for these abortions.

4. Ms. Arthur says:
Woodworth also continually uses the word ‘child’ to describe a fetus, which is just another ‘begging the question’ ploy to try and lead people to equate fetuses with children and therefore accept that they should have rights. ...Although ‘child’ is often used informally to refer to fetuses, this is a colloquial usage that has no legitimate place in modern law or medicine – including in Woodworth’s motion.”
Wrong again, Joyce. Let me repeat how Ken Epp already responded to you on this point on pages 16-17 of The truth about Bill C-484: A compassionate and constitutionally valid remedy to current injustice in Canadian criminal law:
The Criminal Code currently uses no term other than “child” to refer to the unborn child (Sections 223 (1) , 223 (2), 238 (1) and 238 (2)). The term “fetus” is never used in the Criminal Code.
....the existing section 238 refers to the “child that has not become a human being”; section 223 states that the “child becomes a human being within the meaning of this Act when it has completely proceeded, in a living state, from the body of its mother”;
....Ms. Arthur is also incorrect in her understanding of section 223 (2). She says, “The meaning of child in subsection (2) is the same as that in the definition – a born-alive human being.” The exact wording of this section is: “223 (2) A person commits homicide when he causes injury to a child before or during its birth as a result of which the child dies after becoming a human being.” In section 223 (2), the term “child” is used to refer to both the unborn child and the born child.
..... Given that the term “child” is already used in the Criminal Code to refer to the fetus/unborn child/human offspring before birth, one is left to wonder why Ms. Arthur displays such an adverse, extreme, reaction to the use of this term in C-484. It is worth noting that what Ms. Arthur refers to as “anti-abortion activist” language was actually used by none other than staunch pro-choice advocate and former Cabinet Minister Barbara McDougall twenty years ago in the House of Commons:
'Society and religion, over the centuries, have had differing views on the mores of abortion, of killing an unborn child. Let us not be afraid of the vocabulary. [emphasis added] (Hon. Barbara McDougall, Hansard, P. 1 8080, July 27, 1988)'”.
As Joe Friday used to say on the TV series from the 1950's, Dragnet:
"All we want are the facts, ma'am".

Friday, March 16, 2012

Choose rightly

"To choose rightly it is necessary to concentrate on the end for which I am created, that is, for the praise of God and for the salvation of my soul."

St.Ignatius of Loyola, Spiritual Exercises, 169

Monday, March 12, 2012

Making laws is a right of the members of the community

From My Way of Life - Pocket edition of St. Thomas - The Summa simplified. Publisher: Confraternity of the Precious Blood (1952)Author: Fr. Walter Healy and Fr. Martin Farrell

Chapter XIII - Law: The Road-Map to Happiness

"...Since the happiness of the individual is possible, in practice, only through the pursuit of the common good of the whole community, law will be concerned always with the common good of all the members of the community.

It follows therefore that the making of laws is a right of the members of the community. They may entrust that right to a king or to an elected legislature. But in that case the rulers or government are only exercising the right which society or the community has given them...

...The Natural law is based on man's recognition of the fact that the natural inclination of every creature is in inclination to the good. Recognizing this, human reason sees the first precept of law, that good is to be done and evil to be avoided. All other precepts of the natural law are based on this first precept of the Natural Law. All other laws are intended to achieve the goal of this first law--the attainment of good and the avoidance of evil..."

Monday, March 5, 2012

Abortion petitions for Canada

Some good news on abortion. We have had numerous Members of Parliament presenting abortion related petitions in the House of Commons.

The first petition states:
"Whereas Canada is the only nation in the Western world and in the company of China and North Korea without any laws restricting abortion;

And whereas Canada's Supreme Court has said it is Parliament's responsibility to enact abortion legislation;

Therefore, we call upon the House of Commons in Parliament assembled to speedily enact legislation that restricts abortion to the greatest extent possible."

Every time I read or write about the fact that the Supreme Court told Canadians that Parliament was the place to enact protection for the unborn--and the fact they never have--I feel a sense of utter disbelief. But it's true. After all these years, Parliament still has done nothing about abortion legislation. What are they waiting for?

The second petition calls on Parliament to examine the Criminal Code's definition of a human being (based on Stephen Woodworth's motion):
"Whereas Canada’s 400 year old definition of a human being says a child does not become a human being until the moment of complete birth, contrary to twenty-first century medical evidence;
And whereas Parliament has a solemn duty to reject any law that says some human beings are not human;

Therefore, we call upon the House of Commons in Parliament assembled to confirm that every human being is recognized by Canadian law as human by amending Section 223 of our Criminal Code in such a way as to reflect twenty-first century medical evidence."

Here are the names and dates of the MPs who have already brought forward some of these petitions. Good for them:

James Rajotte - March 2nd
David Sweet – March 2nd
Mark Warawa - March 1
Ed Komarnicki  - March 1
David Tilson – Feb 29
Michael Chong - Feb 29
Bev Shipley – Feb 15
Dave VanKesteren – Feb 15
Dean Allison – Feb 13
Chris Charlton – Feb 13

But we need more.

Print off the petitions, have them signed, and bring to your MP to be read in the House. (Check out ARPA's petition links above for information on the best way to do this).

This is a great start. But we need a lot more of these calls from ordinary Canadians, to tell Mr. Harper what they want for Canada and for the unborn. Maybe we can even get Mr. Harper to finally listen to us.