Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Repeating untruths doesn't make them true

Frankly, this is tiring: Joyce Arthur working reality into a fictional story on abortion in Canada. Does she ever give it a rest? Apparently not.

I've already debunked her make-believe world here when I wrote on January 12, 2012 about 2009 Canadian abortion statistics, and here when I wrote on November 19, 2012 about 2010 Canadian abortion statistics.

So here we go again--now I'll do it for 2012 abortion statistics.

1) Arthur says:
"Since 1988, when the Supreme Court of Canada threw out our abortion law as unconstitutional, the sky has not fallen, but our abortion rates have – we’ve witnessed a continuing decline since 2000 and now have a relatively low abortion rate compared to many other developed countries – about 14 abortions per 1000 women of childbearing age per year." (emphasis added)
Arthur points to CIHI as proof that Canada's abortions statistics have been declining since 2000. But how does she know this? She doesn't. Because as CIHI themselves tell us their numbers are underestimated:
"...while this is probably an underestimate of induced abortions done in the country, it is currently the best way to produce pan-Canadian comparable data."
That's because CIHI's numbers don't record abortions done in private physician's offices; don't record medical abortions; and don't record all clinic abortions, because many clinics choose not to report that information, and nobody makes them do it.

Arthur then says there are 14 abortions per 1000, but neglects to tell you, that that number is from Statistics Canada data from 2005--nine years ago. We have no idea right now how many abortions are committed per 1000 abortions, because our data is inaccurate. And even if it was accurate, you can't use nine year old data to talk about today's trends.

(In fact, discerning minds must question why CIHI reports at all--if their numbers are so woefully inaccurate? But that's a question for another day.)

2) Arthur says
"90 per cent of abortions occur during the first trimester, and less than half a percent after 20 weeks." (emphasis added)
For 2012, CIHI reported a total of 83,708 clinic and hospital abortions (and as stated above this is under reported). Of these abortions, a full 62,178* have "unknown" gestational age.

That means all 62,178*, or most of them, or some of them, or none of them, could be late term abortions. We. Do. Not. Know. That's what "unknown" means. And we don’t know these gestational ages because most abortion providers don't report them.

So concluding late-term abortions are "less than half a percent" is impossible.

3) Arthur says:
"The latter [after 20 weeks] are all for compelling reasons, such as fetal abnormalities incompatible with life or a serious threat to the woman’s health or life."
How does Arthur know these late-term abortions are for compelling reasons? Because nobody else in Canada knows this. Arthur can't know--since reasons are not reported.

We know for sure that in 2012 there were 563 late term hospital abortions (as reported by CIHI). And remember, we don't know how many late term abortions were done in clinics because clinics don't report late-term abortions. And since we don't know the gestational ages of 62,178* abortions, Arthur's conclusions are based on bad, wrong, missing, and or inaccurate information.

Even if Arthur can prove there are "only" 563 late abortions per 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, many, many early abortions.

4) Then Joyce gets creative, by actually redefining the medical term "fetal viability":
"Much of the debate in the UK media has focused on the science of fetal viability and at what gestation they can survive on their own. This issue is totally irrelevant to women who need abortion care, as the survival ability of premature babies applies only to fetuses being carried to term. If a woman needs an abortion, then by definition, her fetus is not viable." (emphasis added)
In other words, if you don't like the definition of something, hey just change its meaning. That was easy.

5) Finally we get to the bottom of Arthur's real worry. That darned fetus. Always gets in the way of a good abortion fairy tale.

To solve this thorny issue of decapitating, dismembering and disemboweling another human being, we simply advise the reader to NOT focus on the fetus.
"When we focus on the fetus, we forget about the woman and her reasons for an abortion. Women don’t ask for an abortion because it’s their ‘right to choose,’ or because they don’t understand what’s inside of them. They request abortion because they can’t provide responsibly for a child (or another child) at this point in their lives. A woman’s abortion decision is about ensuring her future and that of her family, not about the current legal or moral status of her fetus. It’s about being the best mother possible when she’s ready – or maybe not becoming a mother at all if she knows she’s not suited to it. That is the very definition of conscientious decision-making. We can trust women to know what’s best for themselves and their families, without imposing punitive criminal laws against their private decisions."
So many problems dissipate when we make up numbers, change definitions, and ignore the fetus. It's easy, really. Just ask Joyce.

(* 62,178 unknown gestational age abortions is calculated using simple arithmetic: 83,708 total known abortions - 21,530 known gestational age abortions (see page 6 of CIHI's 2012 statistics) = unknown gestational age abortions)

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