Editor’s Note – The issue of abortion is a tough conversation to have. On one side there’s the facts of what it is and how it’s performed. On the other there’s the affected lives of those who have chosen to have an abortion. This article was written primarily as a fact based awareness piece. We want you to know that if you or someone you know has had an abortion, we’re here to love, pray for and encourage you in any way we can. If you need to talk to someone, contact us. If you are pregnant and in the middle of deciding what to do right now, you too can contact us.
Abortion is the active removal (termination) of the human embryo or fetus from the uterus before the stage of viability or 20 weeks gestation. An embryo refers to the developing human from the 2nd to 8th week of development. All major organ systems develop during this stage and are present in the embryo at 8 weeks.
Fetus refers to the developing human from approximately 60 days up to birth. During the fetal phase, the organ systems become more mature, and the fetus grows from approximately 1.18 inches and .0025 kg at 60 days to 19.69 inches and 3.3 kg at term.
If someone is looking to get an abortion done, they can go to a clinic or hospital except if they are in PEI, Nova Scotia, Saskatchewan, the Territories or Nunavut. These provinces and territories don’t have abortion clinics.
Can you believe that Canada is one of the few countries in the world where an abortion can be performed at any time during pregnancy (up to birth) and for any reason!? Performing an abortion used to be a crime punishable by life in prison but in 1969 they became legal providing the woman’s life or health was endangered. In 1988 the Supreme Court (top court in Canada that determines the laws we live by as a country) removed this restriction on abortions and offered no other guidelines.
If you think that’s not cool, surveys over the last 30 years indicate most Canadians would agree with you. Two thirds of Canadians think human life should be protected at some point prior to birth, including almost a third of people who think it should be protected from the moment of conception. Informed consent laws for mothers considering abortions and the need for parental consent for minors to get abortions also had a majority of Canadian votes. Abortion is a huge issue.
In Canada, there are about 330,000 lives birthed each year, and about 110,000 abortions.2
This means a staggering 25% of all potential Canadian infants are killed before birth.
From 1970 till 2004, there were 1,146,255 recorded abortions in Ontario alone – the highest rate of any province. BC recorded 437,461 while Saskatchewan only had 48,602.
In 2004 (the latest year on record), teenagers had 17% of abortions. Only 6.3% of all abortions were on girls under 18. Teenage abortion rates have dropped from 18.9 abortions per thousand to 13.8 in 2004. Comparatively, women in their 20’s, accounted for 53% of all abortions in 2004.
HOW ABORTIONS ARE DONE3
Abortion comes in many forms depending on stage of pregnancy, size of fetus, where the abortion will occur and the woman’s health.
Surgical methods aren’t pretty and vary from using vacuums & sucking out the fetus in parts to also using a knife or forceps to dismember the fetus or crush it’s skull.
Suction Aspiration – used for approximately 90% of abortions in Canada and performed from 6-14 weeks of pregnancy.
Dilation & Evacuation/Curettage and Partial Birth – used for pregnancies after 13 weeks up to full term (40 weeks).
These are abortion methods using drugs taken orally in pill form. Mifepristone, also known as RU-486 or the ‘abortion pill’, used together with misoprostol is the most commonly used medical abortion combination worldwide. Some women prefer medical abortion to surgical abortion because it allows them to be in the privacy of their home when the miscarriage actually happens, it’s more accessible, it’s effective in early pregnancy and it more closely resembles natural miscarriage. Drawbacks of this method are that it takes longer, is less effective and involves heavier bleeding, more pain, nausea and vomiting.
There are a number of myths and misconceptions about abortions. Here’s a few of them.
1. Undergoing an abortion is as safe as going to the dentist.
Actually, physical side effects of abortion include infection, infertility, miscarriage in future pregnancies, breast cancer, perforation to the bowel and death due to excessive bleeding.
2. Abortion is a great solution for an unplanned or unwanted pregnancy.
Taking into account the physical side effects above (not to mention emotional ones too) into account, abortion does not eliminate the problem but causes worse problems.
3. Abortion is a great solution for the issue of incest.
Abortion actually perpetuates incest by protecting the doer and keeping the secret. The power of incest is not in the act itself, but in the act of keeping it a secret.
4. The procedure of the abortion only affects the mother of the baby
Aside from the fact it affects the murdered child, it also actually affects the father, grandparents, present or future siblings and friends of the mother and father.
5. If the baby is not wanted, it is better off being dead
This way of thinking is simply a coping strategy to make the mother feel better about killing her child. The fact of it is, because God decides when to bring life into the world, it should be God who decides to bring physical life out as well.
6. Abortion decreases the incidences of child abuse
Statistics show that the incidences of child abuse have grown since abortion became legal. This is because the underlying physical and emotional pain from undergoing an abortion leads to an increased tendency for the woman to become abusive to already existing children, or children that they will have in the future.
I have tried my best to keep my opinion out of this article but I want to share that I feel as though abortion is wrong. I think that especially as believers in the Lord, we need to take a stand and say no to abortion (for us or others). Our generation is more pressured to sex before marriage than our parent’s generation because it’s so much a part of our culture and is acceptable behavior. As Christians, if we do go too far in our relationships and a pregnancy happens, we need to choose life for the baby.
Pray for the ending of unrestricted abortion. Join the 24/7 Prayer siege. Pray that young pregnant women choose life for their baby (even if they are scared of the future). Pray that others would rally around these pregnant people to help and support them during the pregnancy and during the baby/toddler years.
Get informed on the issue. This article should be a great start. See also the resources and websites below. Raise awareness in your school, community and workplace. Make sure it’s done in love.
3. GET POLITICAL
Write a letter to your local Member of Parliament, asking them to act on this issue and introduce restrictions on abortion.
Here are some questions this issue stirs up that we need to wrestle with and talk about. Share your thoughts with us on the site.
- What are your thoughts about abortion?
- Do you think restrictions should be placed on when an abortion can happen? What should these restrictions be? What about in cases of rape or incest?
- Should teen girls need parental consent to get an abortion? Should the father have a say in abortion?
- When does a fetus become a baby? When should a baby have legal rights as a person?
- What do you think is the best alternative to abortion? Why?
- How do you think you would feel if you had an abortion?
- How can you love, encourage, help and support pregnant teens (and/or 20 something’s) in your school/community? Ones who have had babies? Ones who are considering abortion?
- Have you seen the movie Juno? What do you think of her decision?
- Do you think God forgives those who have chosen to have an abortion?
Share your comments and thoughts below!
Crisis Pregnancy Helpline: 1-800-665-0570
Canadian Crisis Pregnancy Centres
:: by Courtney McLeod of Vancouver, BC
2 Globe and Mail article http://www.theglobeandmail.com/life/article759825.ece