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Abortion / Fetal Rights
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Principles

The Bible teaches that God gives life as a gift. Human life has inherent worth and must be respected and protected through all of its stages, beginning at conception.

The Issue

Abortion is one of the most commonly performed gynaecological procedures in North America – over 100,000 abortions are carried out each year in Canada alone. Abortion is a critical and controversial moral issue that must be addressed by Canadians lawmakers and citizens alike.

Despite the fact that the majority of Canadians favour some form of abortion legislation, Canada is the only country in the western world with no criminal laws regulating or prohibiting abortion. While some provincial authorities, medical associations and colleges of physicians have laid out guidelines for when and why abortions are to be performed, these guidelines are not binding and cannot be legally enforced. In practice, abortions are performed in Canada during all nine months of pregnancy, including partial birth abortion procedures.

Today, abortion access in Canada is among the freest in the world, offering no real protection for the unborn. It is time for a culture of life in Canada in which the rights of the unborn are protected, and the inherent worth of each human life recognized, regardless of their age, ability or condition, or the circumstances surrounding their conception.

Potential Risks

Choosing to abort an unborn child is a permanent decision with potentially devastating physical, emotional and psychological effects for the mother. However, women considering abortion are rarely informed by their physician or clinician about such things as the development of their unborn child, including ultrasound images, the disturbing details of actual abortion procedures, and the immediate and long term physical, emotional, and psychological risks they present.

Sixty-five percent (65%) of Canadians surveyed in 2008 said they would support Consent Laws in Canada that require a woman’s physician to provide her with certain information before she has an abortion procedure. Such information could include details on the stages of fetal development including an ultrasound scan, possible complications and side effects following an abortion, and various alternatives to abortion.

Physical Risks

There is great potential for immediate complications during abortion procedures. Approximately 10 percent of women undergoing elective abortion will suffer immediate complications of which approximately 20 percent are considered life threatening.

Some of the potential long term physical risks involved in abortion include a substantial increase in the risk of various forms of cancer, including breast cancer and an increased likelihood of miscarriage in subsequent pregnancies[1].

Emotional Impact

The emotional impact of abortion on the mother (and father) [2] can be severe. Common emotional symptoms include sudden and uncontrollable crying episodes, deterioration of self-concept, disturbances in sleep and appetite, reduced motivation, disruption in interpersonal relationships, extreme guilt and anxiety, psychological "numbing", depression and thoughts of suicide. Longer term risks include an increased likelihood of substance abuse, deep depression and even suicide.

For women who become pregnant as a result of heinous crimes such as rape or incest, abortion is often considered to be an immediate solution that will lessen or relieve further trauma. However, the opposite is true. In such cases, which are already complex and sensitive, abortion increases feelings of loss, loneliness, anger, and depression.

In studies of women who became pregnant as a result of sexual assault, the majority of those who aborted their baby felt that the abortion had in fact increased the sense of guilt and shame they felt after the sexual assault. In contrast, the same study showed that none of the women who carried to term said they wished they had chosen abortion instead. While carrying a child to term may be hard for the mother after suffering a sexual assault, many of these women said that their children had brought peace and healing to their lives. [3]

Footnotes

[1] A List Of Major Physical Sequelae Related To Abortion.
[2]A study released in October 2000 of Montreal-area men and women "involved in first trimester abortions" concluded that the event "can be highly distressing for both women and men." Prior to having the abortion, women were 56.9% more distressed than the control group; three weeks after the abortion, 41.7% still remained highly distressed. For men, the decline was even less - from 39.6% before to 30.9% after the abortion. (The College of Family Physicians of Canada: Pierre Lauzon, MD; Diane Roger-Achim, MD; Andre Achim, PhD; Richard Boyer, PhD, "Emotional distress among couples involved in first-trimester induced abortions," Canadian Family Physician (Vol. 45, October ), pp. 2033-2045, 2000).
[3] Reardon, D., Makimaa, J. & Sobie, A., In "Victims and Victors: Speaking Out About Their Pregnancies, Abortions, and Children Resulting from Sexual Assault," Acorn Books, 2000.

Issue: Abortion

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Current Issue: Motion M-408 - Sex-selection

Related Issue: Reproductive/Genetic Technologies
Related Issue: Euthanasia/Assisted Suicide


Helpful Links

EFC's Declaration on Human Life

Christian Association of Pregnancy Support Services

Pro-Life Canada Index

Post-Abortion Resources

   
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