Saturday, August 20, 2016

How can we discuss abortion when we don't have data?

If you Google "how many abortions are done in Ontario each year?" the first link that comes up is a four page chart by pro-abortion Joyce Arthur.

So what does this chart reveal? It reveals there is a lot we don't know about Canadian abortion statistics in general, and Ontario abortion statistics in particular. Of course we already knew this right?

What is interesting about Arthur's charts is that she makes a lot of assumptions about the rate of abortion in Ontario. Which is fair; I always have to do the same. Because when you try and discuss anything without accurate data, you have to make assumptions--you have no choice.

I won't get into why I disagree with Arthur's assumptions, as I've already done that many times before, but right now, that isn't the point. Right now the point is that if you're trying to have a meaningful conversation about anything, never mind about something with as many political, social, and financial repercussions as abortion--well it's all kind of ridiculous, isn't it?

How can she and I even talk about the data and what it means, when we don't even have the data?

In fact, in Arthur's four page analysis, she devotes quite a bit of space to the assumptions she makes about Canada's statistics, including Ontario's abortion numbers based on my freedom of information requests for 2010, the last year we have decent Ontario abortion data. And she has to make assumptions. We all do, because our data is hidden at the whim of a government who did it for political reasons. A non-accountable, non-transparent, non-open government.

As a pro-life person, how can I meaningfully refute Joyce Arthur's assertions that abortions in Ontario are going down when I can't see the data? If someone out there in google land searches for Ontario abortion numbers in Ontario, they may think rates are going up, or that abortion rates are going down, depending on whose information they read. 

If abortions are really going down, or if they're really going up, and we know which, there would be no need to speculate or assume. All of us could then meaningfully comment on the facts we see, and then we could meaningfully discuss the implications of that reality.

This is why our Charter case is so very important.

If I was still able to get abortion information through freedom of information requests (based on OHIP billings), I would be able to tell you AND the pro-abortions the following facts about abortions in Ontario:
  • How many abortions are done in doctor's offices
  • How many medical abortions there are
  • How many fetal reductions there are
  • The total number of all clinic abortions
  • Gestational age (weeks) of abortions done in clinics
  • Gestational age (weeks) for the large "unknown" figure for hospital abortions
  • Information on the method of abortion for clinic data
  • The costs of abortion to the citizens of Ontario
And then I could meaningfully comment on the implications of these facts. Now I am only left guessing. And so is Joyce Arthur. 

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