Tuesday, June 28, 2022

CIHI 2020 abortion data: tragedy and confusion still reign

CIHI's 2020 abortion stats:

"volumes reported underestimate the true number of induced abortions in Canada"

There are so many caveats (bolded below) in CIHI's abortion data, that it truly is difficult to know how many abortions are being perpetrated in Canada.

From Page 2:

"CIHI captures administrative, clinical and demographic data on induced abortions performed in Canadian hospitals. Data is supplied by provincial and territorial ministries of health, hospitals, independent abortion specific clinics and other clinics in Canada. Data from clinics providing abortion services is submitted voluntarily to CIHI and most does not include information on abortion procedure or patient characteristics. Counts in the following tables include induced abortions performed in a hospital or in a clinic providing abortion services in Canada. Due to variations in use of fee-for-service (FFS) payments for induced abortions across the country, these figures are not based on pan-Canadian FFS data [this is why I like to make FOI requests for data: it is typically more accurate than CIHI's numbers]

In recent years, medical abortions have become more accessible in primary care settings (e.g., nurse practitioner and physician offices, community and public health clinics), and most of these are not included in the data tables. In addition, the COVID-19 pandemic has had an impact on hospital activity in Canada (e.g., delayed or cancelled surgeries). Measures to maintain early access to abortion services during the pandemic (e.g., virtual visits, extending gestational age limit for medical abortion) may have further shifted abortion volumes to primary care settings. Therefore, volumes reported underestimate the true number of induced abortions in Canada. More comprehensive reporting may be available in future CIHI releases.

Results presented in tables 3 to 8 are derived from hospitalization data only. Findings therefore exclude many early, medical and uncomplicated induced abortions, which occur more frequently in clinic and primary care settings. These results are unlikely to be representative of all abortions across all settings and may overestimate the proportion of all abortions with complications and underestimate the proportion of all abortions provided medically and in the first trimester."

And this note on Table 1:

"Number of induced abortions reported in Canada in 2020, by province/territory of hospital or clinic" (note: some abortions not included, for example, most medical abortions in primary care settings*)

And regarding Quebec's numbers:

The methodology for Quebec was revised in 2019 to include fee codes for medical abortions, resulting in an increase in reported abortion volumes for both hospitals and clinics.

So it seems most provinces do not report medical abortions to CIHI--but Quebec does report medical abortions?

Every abortion is a tragedy, but some are more tragic than others:

  • At least 1,376 women have had 2 or more hospital abortions (this number would be higher, because they exclude Quebec and clinic abortions)
  • At least 652 women have had hospital abortions at 21+ weeks gestation (this number would also be higher, because they exclude Quebec and clinic abortions)
  • 1,514 girls <=17 years old had an abortion. These girls cannot vote, legally drink or smoke dope, but they can abort their child.
How can we let this happen?

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