National Post Too controversial to question

National Post - Wednesday January 18th, 2012

Two interesting abortionrelated news items this week.

Texas passed a law imposing informed consent on women seeking abortions. In future, women there will have a sonogram, with the heartbeat audible and the image of the fetus visible to them. They will also hear a description of how the unborn baby would develop. It is quite likely that many of them will think twice about aborting, and will consider other options.

At home the Canadian Medical Association Journal has urged delayed revelation of fetal sex to reduce alarming rates of female-fetus abortion in certain cultural communities.

We know a great deal more about abortion, epidemiologically and culturally, than we did when the old abortion law was nullified in 1988. Both of these initiatives - one realized, one that should be - show bold but welcome resistance to the usual superannuated taboos around discussion of abortion constraints that feminist correctness demands.

Regarding sex selection through government-funded technology: This is gendercide tout court. Morally, this odious practice, often performed counter to women's wishes to satisfy a cultural preference for male offspring, is no different than enforced sterilization on grounds of mental or racial inferiority. Private clinics as well as public should be regulated to prevent it.

Regardinginformedconsent: Who except a radical ideologue could object to women being informed of the medical facts about abortion, including risks that were not scientifically determined in 1988, before choosing to undergo the procedure?

Facts such as?

First, women should know they are undergoing a surgical procedure that has never been animal-tested. If vacuum aspiration abortion had been animal-tested, then we might not have had to wait several decades before discovering through human experience that induced abortion (IA), especially more than one, presents a risk of premature birth in future pregnancies. Extreme premature birth, directly linked in many peer-reviewed studies to multiple prior IAs, is associated with a host of physical deficits in babies, notably cerebral palsy.

Before February 2009, there had never been an Abortion"Preemie" Systematic Review with Meta Analysis (SRMA) which surveys all the literature in the field and analyzes it. That all changed with the February 2009 "Swingle" SRMA in the Journal of Reproductive Medicine (named for its lead researcher, Hanes Swingle), and an October 2009 SRMA in the British Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology, led by University of Toronto pediatric epidemiologist Dr. Prakesh Shah. Both screened thousands of scholarly titles and both confirmed an immutable link between preterm birth and prior IAs.

This link is common knowledge in the scientific world, but I am not aware of any Canadian abortion provider who volunteers that information to clients on their websites or in person.

Prior abortions are also linked to autism. Most people don't know that. I was only made aware of it when my precariously pregnant daughter was in the care of an obstetrician specializing in high-risk gestation. He told her that the dilation and curettage procedure (which involves the surgical removal of uterine tissue) she had required after a previous miscarriage occurred so soon after the fetal heart beat stopped that it produced the same risks as an abortion - autism in subsequent children being one of the risks.

It's rather odd that we are so in the dark about credible links between serious afflictions and prior abortions. Why haven't the media been commenting on them? Because the right to unfettered abortion is such a politically sacred cow, anyone who dares to suggest we revisit the legal vacuum to accommodate present realities is immediately labelled a social throwback who wants abortion outlawed, performed with "coat hangers" in "back alleys."

More than 75% of women who have abortions wish to have a baby in future. Amongst the recommendations in his study, Dr. Prakesh strongly advocates informed medical consent to abortion: "These women should know the risks associated with [induced abortions], not only for their health, but also for their future reproductive potential."

There are 100,000 abortions a year performed in Canada, a significant number of them repeats. Some of them will lead to birth deficits. Some of them are a form of domestic violence. Women have the right to be treated as autonomous adults who are in thrall neither to ideologues or to retrograde cultural imperatives. The time has come for government to address the unforeseen realities of abortion.