Action: Liberal Abortion Bill

I cannot believe that almost 20 years after Bertha Wilson and the Supreme Court decision, this is still going on!

The Liberal MP for Huron-Bruce, Paul Steckle, introduced the new abortion bill which would carry sentences on par with the average sentence for manslaughter, if the abortions are carried out after 20 weeks.

Now, some might think this is a good thing. But, according to Canadians For Choice, access to the medical procedure is unequal across the country. From their January 2006 Choice Update (PDF):

We have a baseline against which to measure whether a woman’s right to choose is being rolled back.

That baseline shows that eighteen years after the historic Morgentaler decision, Canadian women still face challenges with realizing choice, in particular with access to abortion services. A recent national study of access to abortion services at hospitals across Canada found that:

  • only 17.8 of all general hospitals in Canada perform abortions, with some jurisdictions, such as Prince Edward Island and Nunavut offering no hospital abortion services at al;
  • even hospitals providing abortions place obstacles in the way of women trying to obtain one, including restrictive gestational limits and long wait times (sometimes 2-3 weeks);
  • in many cases, hospital employees are not able to provide women with information about alternative resources;
  • physicians and hospital employees deny women access by refusing information and referrals, or by referring women to anti-choice angecies; and
  • many women have to travel significant distances to obtain abortion services, which is time consuming, expensive and conflicts with work and child care.

Contact Mr. Steckle and remind him of this. He can be reached in Ottawa

Telephone: (613) 992-8234
Fax: (613) 995-6350
Land mail (postage free):
House of Commons
Ottawa, Ontario
K1A 0A6

or at his Constituency Offices

30 Victoria St North,
Goderich, Ontario
N7A 2R6
Telephone: (519) 524-6938
Fax: (519) 524-9374

And remember to send a copy of your message to Jack Layton, Bill Graham, PMSH, Gilles Duceppe, and your MP.

Updated to add : Take a look at this! A Secret Anti-Choice Caucus!

Thanks to Robert at My Blahg for the lead, to Greg at Sinister Thoughts for firing up my passion, and to Trizia in the enMasse forum for the update!

Updated to adjust link. (Thanks again, Trizia!)

Updated to add this link to stories about anti-choice women who’ve had abortions. (Thanks Toedancer!)

Updated 29Jun06 to add a link to this most excellent post at The Galloping Beaver.


67 thoughts on “Action: Liberal Abortion Bill

  1. The main reason that some women need 2nd trimester abortions is because they were unable to access first-trimester abortions. So, the most effective way to reduce these abortions is to guarantee and fund widespread access to subsidized contraception, comprehensive sexual health education, and first-trimester medical and surgical abortion – none of which are included in this bill.

    Regardless, the bill is trying to solve a “problem” that doesn’t even exist. About 90% of abortions are done by 12 weeks in Canada, and about 97% by 16 weeks. Less than 0.4% of abortions occur after 20 weeks gestation, almost all because of serious fetal or maternal health problems. The only reason for this bill, therefore, is to use it as a foot-in-the-door to enact even more restrictions against abortion.

    Joyce Arthur, Abortion Rights Coaliton of Canada (ARCC-CDAC)

  2. There were 243 fetuses past 21 weeks killed in 2001, according to Margaret Somerville, who cites Statistics Canada. And those are the ones we KNOW about, because reporting gestation date is not even necessary.

    A number of them were probably killed using intact dilation and extraction, aka, partial birth abortion. That’s okay with all of you? You’re okay with delivering a fetus of 21 weeks being delivered right up to the head, then having his skull punctured and his brains sucked out?

    Killing a baby because of a fetal deformity is NOT okay. It’s discriminatory. It’s like killing a fetus because she’s a girl, or biracial, or– who knows when this will happen– because he’s gay. I know, I know. Abortion trumps all else, because women must maintain feminist supremacy over the unborn child, even if it tolerating the gross evil known as partial birth abortion.

    We won’t back down. The public will come to know what terrible things are done to unborn children, and they will oppose it.

  3. Now, to add a few stats (courtesy My Blahg) to the commentary:

    104,000: The number of induced abortions conducted in Canada.
    65,000: The number of therapeutic (for health reasons) induced abortions conducted in Canada.
    4,500: The number of induced abortions conducted in Canada after 16 weeks of pregnancy.

    1,600,000: The number of induced abortions conducted in the US.
    100: The number of third trimester induced abortions conducted in the US.

    Extrapolated statistics based on the above stats.
    7-10: The number of third trimester induced abortions conducted in Canada.

    So basically this legislation has been introduced to prevent 7-10 abortions per year. Or most likely none since those 7-10 are probably being conducted for health reasons.

  4. No sorry, it’s not 7-10 late-term abortions. You’re GUESSING. I have actual statistics.

    From Margaret Somerville (who supports abortion in the first trimester):

    Statistics Canada does not include reasons for abortion among the “selected characteristics” on which it collects data. We don’t even know how many post-20-week abortions there are. Fifty-four percent of hospitals or clinics filing the abortion reports used by Statistics Canada do not give the gestational age—it was not reported in 57,491 of 106,418 abortions in 2001. Among those reporting gestational age that year, there were 246 abortions after 21 weeks.

    So there were at least 246 late-term abortions in 2001. We pro-lifers would love to have more statistics, but poor-choicers inhibit any attempt to provide more. I guess they don’t want people to be educated about the subjet, even if it’s funded by the public. When you decide to support a move to get more reporting on the nature of abortions in Canada, let me know. We can have a debate on facts, not extrapolation.

    And please, let me know your opinions about intact dilation and extraction. By all means. Tell me if you think pulling a fetus out from the woman’s body and puncturing his skull and then sucking out his brains is morally acceptable. This is what you want legal, right? You do realize that after a certain amount of time, this is the only way to kill a fetus, because the abortionist doesn’t have room to work in the womb.

  5. No, sorry, I misspoke. Another way to kill the fetus at 21 weeks and more is to inject a poisonous solution and have him die of a heart attack. That’s how some Chinese do it when the women are resistant to getting aborted in China, due to the one-child policy. I don’t know if this is done in Canada. We’re not allowed to access such information. I guess the pro-aborts like it better that way. Don’t disclose the gruesome details, now.

  6. Only twenty years after a poor Supreme Court decision without even a clear majority on the legal question at stake. One should not forget that the essence of the Morgentaler decision was simply that the therapeutic abortion committees system violated constitutional legal norms and NOT that abortion prohibitions are in any way themselves unconstitutional.
    While it is a shame that it had to come from a Liberal, Paul Stekle’s bill would be a welcome defence of the rights of security of the person which pro-choice partisans only seem to believe in selectively.

  7. Oh for Gawd’s sake, SUZANNE. Give we Conservative women a bloody break. Start by restricting your OBSESSIVE and irrational anti-abortion rants to that sewer of daily vitriol spewed on your dear friend’s radical right-wing message board, FREE DOMINION!

    You, Suzanne, and those very few egotistical, self-centered, women and of course that absolute madman, Dronebuster (Pacheco), who dominate that board with your deliberate rants of mis-information on abortion statistics, especially with respect to late-term abortions being performed in Canada, are nothing more than an embarrassment to the Conservative Party and to ALL Conservative women in general.

    For your information the fact that You, Suzanne, and Wilkins and company have managed to alienate over 80% of the CPC with the daily doses of pure, unadulterated hatred on that board without even contemplating just how all of that hatred will do nothing more than leave a very bad taste in not only Conservative women’s mouths but without doubt almost ALL Canadian women’s mouths is, to say the least, unbelievable. Your arrogance to presume that because you and your group of self-centered anti-abortionists have the RIGHT to dictate to ALL Canadian women what their rights should be is, simply, crass ignorance on your part.

    Your stats on late-term abortion are INCORRECT.

    Get a bloody life Suzanne and/or find something else to manically obsess over. Leave the rest of we Conservative women to live our own lives.

  8. Vitriol? How is defending unborn children vitriol? And if you have correct abortion statistics, by all means provide them. I have cited a well-known ethicist on the matter, who’s pro-choice, by the way. Where are your abortion statistics? You say that I’m misinformed– then bring forth the information.

    And Connie Wilkins has done a HELL of a lot to raise the fortunes of the CPC. The CPC is now in power. She couldn’t have done that much harm.

    I note that you haven’t entered into the actual subject. So you’re okay with partial birth abortion? Saline injection abortions whereby fetuses die flayed alive and by poisoning? How about hysterotomy? Do tell. Sucking the brains out of a 5-month fetus is okay with you?

    Hey, if I’m factually incorrect, let’s see your facts and your sources. So far all you’ve offered is hysteria and vitriol of your own.

    You wrote:
    “Get a bloody life Suzanne and/or find something else to manically obsess over. ”

    You don’t want me “dictating” to others, but you feel entitled to dictate yourself. You can do what you want with you life. I will continue to fight for unborn children, who are worthy of love and respect, not having their brains sucked out, being flayed alive or suffocated to death.

    And I will add another contribution to the debate on statistics

    According to this editor of the Canadian Medical Association Journal, in 1995, .4% of 70 549 abortions were committed after 20 weeks. So approximately 283 late-term abortions occurred in 1995,again, those are late-term abortions we know of.

    I was just reading a report by CARAL. I misspoke. It appears that poor-choicers would appreciate more statistics on abortion. Apparently they have trouble getting them too. I think we would all benefit if we had the actual numbers and didn’t have to speculate like this.

  9. The often false and misleading information offered by the anti-choice movement is hurting WOMEN.

    At 14 years of age (about a decade ago) I was told that abortions were illegal and unavailable in my area by an anti-choice physician, having to later undergo a second trimester abortion, because I was too young, foolish and scared to get more information…

    At 14 years of age, I had to walk past abusive, screaming protestors, telling me I was going to hell…

    At 14 years of age, I was lovingly supported by the nurses at the clinic, the only people to give me accurate information – and invite me to make a CHOICE.

    That very sad, frightening experience which led me to contemplate suicide (because of the words and judgment of the anti-choice protestors, screaming at a 14 year old girl… jeesh!) has made me PROUD TO BE PRO-CHOICE…

    Great blog!!!


  10. It’s interesting to see that hundreds of late-term abortions isn’t a problem to Joyce Arthur. It’s also interesting to the phrase anti-choice. Choice to do what? This is quite vague. Why don’t you just say anti choice to kill the baby?

  11. Yeah, it’s the choice between intact dilataion and extraction, which involves piercing the baby’s skull and sucking the brains out, saline injection where the baby is poisoned and flayed, or hysterotomy where the baby is suffocated. Not to mention all the stuff that can and does happen to women who have abortions. What kind of choice is that?

  12. As far as I know Stats Can doesn’t track the numbers, however they do tabulate induced abortions by province, age, marital status and number of previous induced abortions.

    Since the mid-1800’s the Pro-Choice most effective argument and still is to date, abortions must be legal, so the backalley butchers keep their hands off Women. Still a compelling reason. The Pro-Lifers are increasing, no question. Before Cons start eating each other and brave women have to post their own abortion story, perhaps it’s time to talk turkey. Affordability. Not stats, not hyperbole and manipulated late term pictures, or desperation to find proof fetuses feel pain or I have dominion over my own body, NOBODY ELSE.

    The continuing erosion of Canada’s social programs is to save money, not us, not the children. Poverty among living children is increasing, not decreasing despite the empty promises. Doctors not taking new patients, no more specialized therapy for autistic children after age 6, health care costs rising for the developmentally delayed/handicapped. In 2004 I believe it was found the cost of raising a child to age 18 was approx $167,000, add another $20,000-40,000 for higher education. That’s approx $9,300 a year, without U or C. That will rise of course, just like gas and taxes. With those kind of numbers even Adoption is pretty much for the upper middle class and rich to make such a commitment. That means Adoption rates will likely fall in the future. Politicians know this.

    Facts, stats, emotion, belief, none of it really comes into play. Abortion, even late term abortion, will remain legal. Not because it’s best for women, but because it can’t afford not to.

    With that said, Steckle is largely an ineffective and unimportant politician who doesn’t even know which party he belongs to. And he’s a man.

  13. Thank you for providing this post. I was thinking of writing one myself, but since yours is already up and active, I’m going to link to it.

    You really have quite the ruckus happening over here. Lots of “bless Paul Steckle”s…eek!

  14. On the recently invented myth of the “partial birth abortion”:

    My mum trained as a nurse in the 1930s and became a head OR nurse at the Holy Cross Hospital in Calgary. When I was eleven or twelve (in the 1950s), she told me of a single incident, the only one in her career, when a doctor turned to her during an emergency delivery and requested a particular kind of forceps. She was forced to say to him, “Doctor, this is a Catholic hospital; you know we don’t have those forceps here.” So he was forced to call an ambulance to take himself and the perhaps dying woman over to the General as fast as possible, where they would have those forceps. Mum said that, as she accompanied them to the door to meet the ambulance, the doctor swore at her the whole way — and she quite understood that.

    We need the stats, yes, but we also need some calm medical voices telling us how rare these procedures are and yet how standard they have always been, how principled doctors and hospitals in Canada are and always have been in restricting last-minute measures strictly to save the lives of the mothers.

    The anti-abortionists would have us believe that hairy-legged man-hating feminists somehow invented, and recently, this heinous practice of killing semi-born babies at the last moment, and for purely frivolous reasons. Horsefeathers. I’ve known for fifty years that the procedure is exceptionally rare in Canada but understood by almost all doctors to be a medical necessity in those cases.

    Unless, of course, people consider it somehow holier to have two dead bodies on the table instead of one.

  15. Rare? I don’t consider couple of hundred of these procedures rare. I have a blog post on that very subject:

    At least I have tried to DOCUMENT what the stats are.

    If a couple of hundred newborns were killed the way late-term fetuses are, there’d be an outcry in the streets.

    If you want to know if fetuses past 20 weeks feel pain, look at preemies. You can’t a touch a young preemie– he’s so sensitive to touch. Can you just imagine when he’s jabbed in the skull?

    And this notion that “the only fetus who matters is my fetus” is ridiculous. How hypocritical is it to see pro-choice women see value in their own fetus, but not in the fetus of others. The “ME ME ME MY BODY/MY CHOICE” attitude is selfish, especially when considering that a baby SUFFERS. We wouldn’t treat a dog that way!

    The Canadian public understands this. No amount of “it’s just done for medical reasons” will change that. One major reason that fetuses are killed at this point is that they’re diagnosed with a genetic anomaly– like Down’s Syndrome. How is it okay to fight for Down’s people when they’re born, but not when they’re unborn? How does that promote diversity? Canadians can see through that. When you inform Canadians that it is legal to kill a fetus right up to the time you cut the umbilical cord, most of them find it abhorrent, whether the procedure is done or not. They understand that unborn babies have a value in themselves. Too bad feminists are too callous to see that. For them “the only fetus that matters is my fetus”. At 13 weeks, he’s a member of the family, but God forbid he has a severe disease, he’s no longer a member of the family any more, he’s toast. What kind of family ethic is that?

  16. Here are the FACTS on later abortions in Canada:

    Check this link for recent accurate information on late-term abortions in Canada:

    Latest stats from Statistics Canada and CIHI: 320 abortions done in 2005 over 20 weeks. (This figure obtained from StatsCan on a proprietary basis and released by the National Abortion Federation at the NAF Annual Meeting in San Francisco, April 22, 2006.) Almost all of these occurred between 20 and 22 weeks, a small number for compelling social reasons (e.g., teenagers who were in denial of their pregnancy, women in abusive relationships, etc.) but most for serious maternal health reasons or fetal anomalies. Please note also that the 3rd trimester is after 24 weeks. The numbers of abortions done after 24 weeks in Canada is a tiny handful, although we don’t have exact numbers, and ALL WITHOUT EXCEPTION are for cases of lethal fetal abnormality, where the fetus cannot survive after birth. No doctor in Canada will perform abortions after about 22 weeks, except for reasons of lethal fetal abnormality, and we actually know of only TWO doctors in all of Canada who are able and willing to do those.

    Here are some further breakdowns on total numbers of surgical abortions by gestation time, based on StatsCan 2003 data, combined with a representative sampling of clinic data across Canada. (This excludes medical abortions by methotrexate, which are all done earlier than 7 weeks, but comprise about 1.2% of all abortions in Canada.) We collected and analyzed this data informally a couple months ago because most clinics don’t report to StatsCan:

    8-12 weeks: 89.3%
    13-16 weeks: 8.1%
    17-20 weeks: 2.3%
    >20 weeks: 0.3%

    The StatsCan data we used is available here: (Excel spreadsheet). Sorry, but I can’t give out the clinic data we used for security/confidentiality reasons.

    Joyce Arthur, Abortion Rights Coalition of Canada,

  17. Also, by the way, fetuses younger than about 28 weeks gestation cannot feel pain. Please see And also:

    Regardless of all the FACTS, however, the bottom line is that abortion is an absolute right for women – the status and “rights” of the fetus are simply not relevant. For more on this, please see my articles “The Fetus Focus Fallacy” at, and “Let No Fetus Defeat Us!” at (please note that the latter article is my own opinion and not written on behalf of any pro-choice group).

  18. Ok people, let’s be serious here. Pro-choice is only pro-choice for the mothers. What about the baby’s choice? What about the father’s choice (By the way I’m female)? If you want to talk about choice then you have to consider everyone’s choice and give everyone a voice, otherwise you are jsut as anti-choice as you say conservatives are. Also, everyone knows that when you have sex, even if you use contraception, you can get pregnant. So if you don’t think it’s a good time for you to have a baby, then have some self-discipline and don’t have sex. Once you’ve made the decision to have sex, then I’m sorry I have absolutely no sympathy for you if you don’t think it’s a good time to have a baby. And don’t tell me you’re young and uneducated, every eight year old knows that sex makes babies. So there’s your choice, have sex and enjoy yourself means that you might get pregnant and then you know what, you have the moral obligation to accept the consequences of your actions and you have the distinct privilege of bringing forth a wonderful new life into the world. Stop being so selfish…you can’t have your cake and eat it too. Every man, woman and child has a right to life…just because that child might be developing in your womb does not give you the right to decide whether he/she lives or dies. If you are pregnant, be thankful and celebrate the awesome gift you’ve been given and start thinking of someone other than yourself, there is more at stake here than choice. Life, the life of innocent, wonderful children, is what is at stake. Let’s not forget this people. Let’s embrace life!

  19. not allowing access to safe abortions only leads to women moving to very unsafe practices, where they wind up with more complications, and sometimes even death.
    is this your idea of sanctifying life?

    please don’t ruin my ability to choose safe and clean options. allowing CHOICE does not mean you have to use this option, but it’s nice to know it’s available.

  20. Either than for rape cases, where the woman was forced to have sex, abortion should not be legal. It is a KNown fact that having sex will give you the likelihood of having kids, and you have to accept the consequences once you jump on the bed. If you’re grown up enough to experiance sex at its greatest, than you should be mature enough to take care of your own blood – an innocent baby who, by YOUR actions, is born, and whom you have no right to kill. Some choices have no turning back.

  21. I hope that people will stand up for the voices that cannot be heard!! The voice of the unborn!! Pro choice?? Whos choice is it really?? I really hope that they make abortion ilegal all together!! Then maybe babies will have a fighting chance at life. Its really sad to see that people will fight for animals rights, but not the rights of a human life!! And If woman are so worried and are that desperate to have abortions, then maybe they should be that desperate to have safer sex!! There are alot worse things then being pregnant, like AIDS and other diesease’s. Maybe ilegalizing abortions will help people think!! This is a baby, NOT a choice!!

  22. “Pro-choice” still gives you the option of living in a world where you can have all the babies you want.

    Sort of how having the right to vote doesn’t actually force you to, nor does the fact some women work outside the home mean you have to.

    Frankly, giving women more options in no way deprives you of the right to live in 1890 if you want.

  23. Fetuses don’t feel pain at 28 weeks?

    Just look at pain in preemies. You can barely touch a young preemie, his skin is so sensitive.

    Here’s a deal: why don’t pro-choicers show the world a filming of a late-term abortion? Why all this extrapolation? They’re the ones who do abortions, why don’t they just document the procedure and show the world what happens to the fetus and what the result is?

    The notion in this day and age that no abortions=dead women just doesn’t hold. There are places in the western world where abortion is not legal, and we don’t hear of women killing themselves with coathangers. If women don’t want to die from coathanger abortions, then they shouldn’t have them. People are responsible for their own actions.

    This discussion reminds me of all the discussions white supremacists used to have about Black people: using every pseudo-scientific reasoning possible to show what’s common sense: the black person is human. Wellt he fetus is a human being. Funny how those who support legalized feticide go through hoops to dissuage people that what they know in their heart is true. You don’t need a biology degree to understand fetuses feel pain. That’s why they’re given anesthetic during surgery. That’s why you can’t touch a preemie. Killing a fetus because he has a genetic disorder is not right. Even if he’s going die, why not just allow him to be born and die? That would be way more ethical than stabbing him in the skull and sucking his brains out.

    This “me me me my body, my life, my choice, regardless of circumstances” attitude has got to stop. People see that it’s selfish, especially when there’s a second party involved, here a fetus. How is it that militant pro-aborts say that a woman can love her fetus– implying he is worthy of love– but that another woman’s fetus is not? How does a woman’s desire add value to a fetus? Or not? One minute, he can be part of a woman’s family, the next minute, he’s being killed. What kind of family ethic is that? Do we kill any other members of our family when a problem arises?

  24. It is disheartening to see the misogyny being expressed by some women on this blog.

    Blind religious dogmatism, from whence arises the fetus focus fallacy, has a remarkable capacity to harden hearts, narrow one’s vision, and turn the truth on its head. In my opinion, those under its sway are simply not capable of grasping the ethic of women as human beings with the freedom to control their destiny, as indicated by their inability to even comprehend the arguments made by pro-choicers, let alone rebut them. I’m reminded of an article I wrote a few years ago, which remains as valid as ever: “A Word of Advice to Anti-Choicers: Know Your Enemy”

  25. Mysogyny? You don’t speak for me! You spread pure bigotry about the fetus. Fetus doesn’t feel pain at 28 weeks? GET REAL! Unborn children get anesthetic for surgery, but they don’t feel pain? Is the medical community that stupid?

    You simply have to assert your feminist supremacy on the de-humanization of the unborn child. White supremacists did it to black men, and now you’re doing it to the unborn child.

    But heck, even if fetuses only suffer at 28 weeks, if a partial birth abortion were to take place at 29 weeks, you’d be in favour of that! Call opposition to this religious dogmatism if you like, but most people can see past that, and no amount of calling “mysogyny” and “religious fundamentalism” is going to change that. How is it that people as liberals as Europeans restrict third-term abortions. Maybe they know something we don’t?

    We’re so evil to care about the suffering of unborn children. Heck, your hearts are so hardened, you don’t give a damn about things being done to a baby that we wouldn’t even do to a dog.

    I haven’t said a word about religion in this thread. The only way pro-aborts know how to trash an argument is to call it “religious fundamentalism”. They do not, in any way, want to defend the act of abortion. They know it causes suffering, and they know Canadians know it’s cruel. They do not want secular Canadians to examine the morality and allowability of abortion on its own merits, nor examine the suffering caused to unborn fetuses. That’s why there’s the “fetus focus fallacy” canard. That’s so examination of the unborn baby is discouraged, and ONLY the woman’s interest is preserved. Never mind who suffers as a result of it.

    I encourage secular people reading this to think for themselves: examine the act of abortion. Examine whether the unborn child suffers. Look at abortion pictures. Compare how we treat unborn children to how we treat other sentient creatures. Ask yourself: is it sensible that unborn children in this country have NO protection, whether the mother wants that legal protection for her child or not?

    I am 100% certain that secular Canadians, if they examine the question on their own, will favour some legal protection of the unborn children, with no religious interventino whatsoever. The “religious fundamentalism” canard is just a way of discouraging secular Canadians to think for themselves. You do not need to believe in God to care about the pain and suffering of unborn children.

  26. Oh yes, just wanted to add that the authors of the study from the JAMA are really biased when it comes to fetal pain:

    Source URL:
    Thursday August 25, 2005

    Abortion Fetal Pain Study Authored by Abortion Rights Activists

    SAN FRANCISCO, August 25, 2005 ( – The mainstream media are reporting on a “study” (actually, an interpretation of existing medical literature) published in this week’s Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA). The authors argue that there is no good evidence that unborn humans feel pain before the third trimester (after 29 weeks gestational age).

    The National Right to Life Committee (NRLC) points out that “Most of these stories have failed to report important information on the origins of this ‘study.’ The lead author, Susan J. Lee, is a medical student and former NARAL employee.”

    The connection to pro-abortion activism doesn’t end there. The Knight Ridder news service reveals that one of the physician authors, Eleanor Drey, is the director of an abortion clinic in San Francisco. Dr. Drey is also on the staff of the Center for Reproductive Health Research and Policy, a pro-abortion advocacy center at the University of California-San Francisco.

    JAMA editor-in-chief Catherine D. DeAngelis told Knight Ridder she was unaware of the authors’ connections, and acknowledged it might create an appearance of bias that could hurt the journal’s credibility. “This is the first I’ve heard about it,” she said. “We ask them to reveal any conflict of interest. I would have published” the disclosure if it had been made.

    Fetal pain laws are being proposed in many jurisdictions as a means of slowing down the abortion rate and, in the words of one Minnesota pro-life lobbyist, to remind the public of the humanity of the unborn.

    Numerous other studies have shown that children start feeling pain as early as 20 weeks, with UK pain experts demanding that anaesthesia be used for any surgical procedure beginning at the 18th week of development.

    Reuters quotes Dr. Kanwaljeet Anand, a fetal pain researcher at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences saying, “This is going to inflame a lot of scientists who are very, very concerned and are far more knowledgeable in this area than the authors appear to be. This is not the last word…definitely not.”

    However, for pro-lifers, the pain issue, although very likely a brutal reality in many abortions, is beside the point. Fr. Frank Pavone, national director of Priests for Life said, “There are many painless ways to kill both born and unborn. That doesn’t make it right.”

    Jim Hughes, President of the International Right to Life Federation, concurred with Fr. Pavone, saying, “Of course this is important work and we need to know at what point the various physical systems are in place. But about abortion this really is a side issue. Abortion kills an innocent child, that’s what makes it wrong, not whether the child feels pain in the process.”

    The columnist and blogger at Catholic World News, Diogenes, said that issue is really a smoke screen for politicians. Responding to Rosen’s comment Diogenes wrote, “If you’re going to kill the child anyway, why worry that it’s going to feel pain?”

    The fact that so many scientists and politicians are so interested in proving that the unborn cannot feel pain is a strong indicator that the discussion and research on the issue is about finding justification for preserving the legal status quo on restriction-free abortion.

    Diogenes asks the rhetorical question about what the discussion of fetal pain really means. “Can a ‘blob of tissue’ feel pain? Or are we staring at yet another clear piece of medical evidence showing that the thing inside the womb is a fellow human being?”


  27. Well, pretty much every aspect of abortion, including the fetus, is thoroughly examined at this website: The pro-choice view is thoroughly defended and the anti-choice view thoroughly debunked. It even has a search box. Suzanne, if you took the time to actually READ some of the links I’ve been posting, which specifically refute your comments (about fetal pain etc), then we probably wouldn’t have to have this “conversation.” At any rate, I’m not going to repeat arguments I’ve made elsewhere.

    As for your challenge of publicly showing an abortion – GLADLY. It would be an extremely valuable myth-buster. If people actually saw what a typical early suction abortion entails (over 90% of all those done) – how simple, quick, and relatively painless it is, they would be amazed. There is nothing to see … except competent and caring medical professionals, a reassured patient, and a relieved and grateful woman at the end of it. The power of showing an abortion on TV or film lies in the public being able to see the WOMAN and sympathize with her. Too many people have been hornswoggled by anti-choice hysteria about the alleged “horror” of abortion and what supposedly happens to the fetus. Anti-choice films and pics tend to greatly enlarge the fetus while erasing the woman, but in a REAL abortion film – one that shows all aspects in an unbiased way (unlike the discredited “Silent Scream”)- that delusion just won’t fly.

    By the way, abortions have been filmed before, by Dr. Morgentaler on W5 in 1973, a documentary done at a southern U.S. clinic some years ago (sorry the title etc is not at my fingertips), and probably other examples.

    Also, abortion clinics show abortion pictures and actual abortion results to patients upon request. Upon looking into the pan, the most common comment from women is an incredulous: “Is that all?!” The untrained eye cannot even make out any body parts in an early abortion. Almost all the tissue you see is the woman’s sloughed uterine lining and a small amount of her own blood. That’s why it’s called “products of conception” btw – a highly accurate medical term. And fetuses before about 10 weeks or so don’t even have any blood – the only blood you see is the woman’s. I was allowed to watch an abortion at a clinic once, and I have to say that even a so-called “hardened” pro-choice activist like me was surprised and relieved to see just how unremarkable the abortion procedure really was. The whole thing took about two minutes flat, there was nothing remotely “gruesome” to see, just whitish tissue being sucked through a narrow flexible plastic tube. The patient was relaxed and chatting casually to the nurse the whole time about mundane things. There was NO pain, NO blood, NO muss, NO fuss. While that may not be every woman’s experience exactly, it’s far closer to the norm than the melodramatic horror shows conjured up by ghoulish anti-choicers. As an appalled abortion clinic nurse once said, after seeing one of these anti-choice gorefests on video: “I have never seen anything like that in my life!” ( – Another Hard Truth: “Pro-life” Videos Likely Incite Violence.)

  28. You know, I just re-read my fetal pain article at It really does refute – or at least raises reasonable doubt on – all of Susanne’s arguments about fetal pain, as well as her assumptions about the “hard-hearted” pro-choice position on fetal pain. She also hasn’t addressed any specific point in the article, which is a comprehensive debunking of anti-choice fetal pain arguments.

    This proves she hasn’t even read the article. So tell me why I should “debate” somebody who can’t be bothered to even read the opposing viewpoint, and who continues to attack straw men instead.

    By the way, dismissing research articles because some authors are pro-choice is pathetic. First, almost everyone in the world has a position on abortion. Second, pro-choice researchers tend to be far more objective and factual than anti-choice “researchers.” Third, if you really want to play this game, it’s tit for tat – don’t EVER cite David Reardon or Joel Brind to support your position!

    One more btw – The anti-abortion position IS sectarian religious doctrine – whether its proponents remember to cloak it under the guise of securalism or not. See (Who Is the Anti-choice Movement, and Religious Fundamentalism: Roots of Anti-Choice Belief) and (Religious Views on the Fetus).

  29. I find it simply delicious that many individuals who are adamently opposed to abortions are those who work against those of us who try and prevent the need for abortion, i.e. by educating and making accessible safer sex. Just a thought! Monika

  30. Pingback: Anonymous

  31. feminism
    n 1: a doctrine that advocates equal rights for women
    2: the movement aimed at equal rights for women [syn: feminist
    movement, women’s liberation movement, women’s lib]

    n 1: fanatical patriotism [syn: jingoism, superpatriotism, ultranationalism]
    2: activity indicative of belief in the superiority of men over
    women [syn: male chauvinism, antifeminism]

  32. I would dearly love for the anti-choice women posting here to actually go save some babies. Hop on a plane, head to a place where chosen children are dying every second of every day and actually make a difference. Put your money were your mouth is.

  33. Joyce, it would be really great if you would post abortions of embryos at various stages of pregnancy, from early embryo to late term– at least 20 weeks. I concur it takes a trained eye to detect the body parts of a younger unborn baby first because he’s so small and secondly the machine that sucks him mashes him up. Perhaps pointing out the various body parts of the younger unborn would be educational as well. We could have interesting comparisons. Let’s see what you folks defend!

    By the way, dismissing research articles because some authors are pro-choice is pathetic.

    If it were simply the fact they were pro-choice, that would be one thing. It’s that two of them were actively involved in the abortion movement, one of whom does partial birth abortions. Bias is not something to lightly dismiss. They obviously have a vested interested in showing that the fetus does not feel pain. And they did not disclose this bias to the editor of the Journal of the American Medical Association.

    Basically, what this study comes down to is that all the evidence for pain is dismissed on the basis that there’s insufficient cortical activity to say that the unborn child has consciousness, and therefore cannot experience pain.

    So in the face of the “theoretical”– we’re to dismiss what people who treat unborn children commonly observe– all the hormonal stress responses, all the attempts to avoid unpleasant stimuli such as needles, all the crying and grimacing that preemies and unborn children manifest in the face of unpleasant situation, and disbelieve what is observed on the basis that the unborn child is insufficiently developed.

    That reminds me of the guy, who, caught by his girlfriend cheating in bed, says to her: who’re you going to believe, me or your lyin’ eyes?

    It’s like when the Rodney King video came out, and he gets the crap beat out of him, but that’s not police brutality.

    You’re asked to believe something that common sense contradicts.

    And to love other people is religious sectarian doctrine. My obligation to help others is religious sectarian doctrine. Calling it “religious sectarian” doctrine doesn’t address its philosophical merits. There are people who are not religious who believe in the fetus’ right to life, or at the least that late-term abortions are wrong. Calling the pro-life position “sectarian doctrine” is a way of trying to dissuade people from actually examining the issue on philosophical grounds– as if religious doctrines could NEVER have any philosophical merit, whatsoever. It’s another form of blind fundamentalism.

  34. Joyce, go right ahead and post pictures of aborted unborn babies from early to late term. It would be an interesting undertaking. Of course the younger unborns are hard to make out after an abortion. For one thing, they are small. The other thing is that the machine mashes them up. Make sure you point out all the body parts, especially past 6 weeks, when the major structures are in place. I await the results.

    Pointing out that two of the authors of the study are involved in the abortion movement is not “pathetic”. Would you trust the tobacco industry to tell the truth about cigarettes? If they were simply poor-choice, that would be one thing– they’re not– they have a vested interest in the results of the research. Pro-life people don’t make their living off of killing fetuses. When people’s livelihoods are at stake, that is a valid reason to question results.

    The results of the study basically come down to: the fetus’ brain doesn’t have cortical activity until 29 weeks or so, so it can’t feel pain.

    This is a deduction, rather than an observation. It dismisses all the things people OBSERVE– all the stress and hormonal activity of unborns and preemies, all the grimacing and crying, all the attempts to avoid the stimuli.

    It reminds me of the guy who, caught cheating with his girlfriend, says: who’re you going to believe, me or your lyin’ eyes?

    Or the defense attorney in the Rodney King case: no police brutality at all…

    It contradicts common sense.

    People who’ve had damage to the cortex (or don’t have one), including anencephalic babies and brain-damaged adults, show signs of pain.

    I note that many in the medical community, remain skeptical.

  35. Stop referring to us as anti-choice! We’re pro-life, thanks so much! Oh and does being a woman mean that it’s ok to kill your own child? Don’t tell me it’s not a child, because it is. I’m not a misogynist, nor am I brainwashed by religion, I just accept and embrace the fact that a child is a child from the first moment of conception and he/she has just as much a right to life as the woman/mother has to choice, so tell me what is more important, your right to choose to kill your own child (and the result of actions you yourself took) or your child’s right to life. I don’t understand how you can be so blind to the life that is at stake. No person with a heart would kill a child merely because it is unborn. Does birth make us human and confer upon us a right to life? And how is one life (ie)the mother’s, more important than the other (ie) the child’s? You know what, I freely state that I am a Catholic, 22 years old, and believe that life is gift from God and I also would like to point out that I am making a free choice in that belief. I am not brainwashed or unable to make a reasonable choice, I have looked at the facts and listened with my heart and I know that abortion is wrong, no matter how much anyone tries to call it a viable choice. Abortion is murder and I’m sorry for anyone who sees it otherwise. But I don’t want to be rude or mean, I respect you as people and I love you as children of God, but I do not agree or respect your opinion in this matter and that will never change. However, I will pray for you all and the lives of all unborn children whose lives are at stake.

  36. Suzanne, “in the face of the theoretical” as acknowledged in my fetal pain article, most if not all doctors use digoxin to euthanize a late-term fetus before the abortion procedure even begins. (Still haven’t read it, eh?) And the idea of a fetus having the same rights or moral status as a full-grown woman is not “common sense”, otherwise almost everyone would already take it for granted. The fact that the majority of people in Canada think women take precedence over fetuses should tell you who holds the “common sense” on the issue. And I’ve already explained in detail how and why the anti-abortion view is a sectarian religious doctrine (see links at Comment 39)- so once again, Susanne’s comments indicate her failure to read my point of view before responding to it.

    Erin and Suzanne, you’re perfectly entitled to your personal beliefs, and perfectly entitled not to respect mine. Ditto for me. (To clarify, I respect your right to hold and practice your personal beliefs, but I don’t have to respect your actual beliefs.) What you are NOT entitled to is to force your personal beliefs onto everyone by law. If your choice for yourself is to never have an abortion because of your beliefs, that’s wonderful. That’s what pro-choice means. Just because you can’t empathize with or understand the validity of other women’s abortion choices doesn’t mean it’s not the best choice for them (and their fetuses).

    Equality – i.e., a level playing field with men – is impossible unless women can control their reproduction. Women’s equality is impossible when sex is tied to procreation. Abortion and contraception break that link, making both integral to women’s equality. If you don’t support contraception and abortion, it’s logically impossible to be a feminist. A person who does not support contraception and abortion is ‘de facto’ in favour of women’s biology being destiny, but not men’s – in favour of women’s lives being defined by parenting, but not men’s. Don’t get me wrong – most women want kids and that’s fine – in fact having kids is social/biological imperative. But childraising is a major and one-sided investment that falls largely onto women – it either needs to become more of a universal priority by both men and women and society at large, or women must be given “extra” rights and social/legal supports so they don’t fall behind economically and politically when they become mothers. If women truly DID have such equality in our society, they’d probably have more kids and fewer abortions, wouldn’t they?

  37. Erin, etc.

    I do not have problems with individuals who are ‘pro-life’, but I do have a problem when these views are used to limit other womens’ access to abortions.

    As my best grrrlfriend, who is feminist, Christian, and ‘pro-life’ says, “While I would not choose to have an abortion, myself, I would never take away this right from other women.”

    On a side note, one area that ‘pro-life’ and pro-choice activists can work together is to prevent the need for abortions, through safer sex education, subsidized and available contraceptives, and so forth.
    But it appears that many fundamental anti-choicers oppose this, as well…


  38. I am a little confused as to why so many pro-lifers focus on whether or not a fetus can feel pain… After all, we know that non-human animals feel pain, and yet many continue to eat animals killed in cruel and unusual ways (i.e. factory farming).

    Fetal pain does not change my opinion of the necessity of choice either way… Access to abortion is necessary, period.

    And in case any of you are wondering, no, I don’t eat animals (have been vegan for 10 years).


  39. In the legislation it states:

    (4) Subsection (1) does not apply if the miscarriage is necessary

    (a) to save the life of a woman whose life is endangered by a physical disorder, physical illness, or physical injury, including a physical condition caused by or arising from the pregnancy itself; or

    (b) to prevent severe pathological physical morbidity of the woman.

    So if late term abortions hardly ever happen anyway AND if they will still be allowed if the mother’s life is in danger – what does this bill matter anyway? It won’t change anything – it will simply force a woman to decide sooner and the whole issue of fetal pain at later stages is taken off of the table.


  40. Oh yeah, jabbing a needle full of drugs in fetus’ heart to cause cardiac arrest– that should stop the pain! Waaaayy more humane than just chopping him up. It’s hard to contain my sarcasm here. I don’t know that all abortionists use digoxin. If I remember your article correctly, it said that this was a technique used on third-trimester abortions, but we’re mostly talking about late second-trimester abortions. Sometimes they miss the heart and hit the brain, or in one case recently reported on Lifesite, there was no digoxin administered, and the baby was born alive and left to die, which is not entirely unusual.

    My reference to “common sense” was the notion that in spite of all the physiological and visual evidence, this is dismissed with a theoretical deduction that the fetus CANNOT feel pain. It reminds me of how thirty years ago, people thought newborns didn’t feel pain, either. Heck, I was shocked people used to think that about newborns, all you have to do is prick a newborn and know he’s in pain.

    I concur that for most people, the notion that fetuses are equals is not obvious. But then, equality hasn’t been obvious with many categories of people at one time or another– for example, women, Indians, disabled people– all these people at one time or another were considered to be inferior, not persons by general consensus. However, most people in Canada agree to some regulation on abortion. Most people are woefully ignorant of what goes on wrt abortion, and when informed that there are no laws in Canada about this practice, they favour some restriction, very often they favour outright fetal protection, in the first, second or third trimester.

    You can say fetal rights beliefs are religious sectarian doctrine all you want, if I propose them based on philosophical principles, and secular people adopt them, that’s part and parcel of the democratic system. Many ideas we commonly hold today began as religious ideas and are now commonly accepted. I believe in using persuasion to convince people of the intrinsic value of the unborn child and his equality.

    Saying that I have no right to force my beliefs on others is a bit disingenuous, considering the feminist lobby does it all the time. Poll people and find out if they favour tax-sponsored abortion. Most people don’t. In a democracy, given that there are winners and losers, people will have other’s beliefs forced on them. White Supremacists didn’t like northern egalitarian ideas forced on them, either.

    I don’t believe that equality consists in a level playing field. Yep, the task of parenting will disproportionately fall on women, and trying to change that is like trying to change the colour of the sky. You can’t fool mother nature all of the time. It’s just the way it is: men, collectively speaking, are programmed to be breadwinners (or hunters) and women are programmed to be parents. It’s not fair or unfair, it’s just the way it is. I don’t think this quest for equality has reduced abortions, I think it’s created more of them, and it’s only logical that it does. Where are there more abortions, where there is more feminism or less? If women perceive being pregnant as a curse, of course they will have abortions. Pregnancy is a blessing, not a socio-economic disease. If “getting ahead” means that much to a woman, then she shouldn’t play the baby lottery. The fetus shouldn’t have to be a casuality of this illusory quest for equality. We’re already equal.

    Regarding people who are “pro-life” but in favour of legalized abortion, I think this is a misnomer. In any case, I think of myself as a fetal rights activist, because that’s what it’s about for me, although it’s not a common label. And if someone says he is against abortion, my next question is: are you in favour of fetal rights?

  41. It’s not uncommon for late-term abortions to occur due to the discovery of Down’s Syndrome. And Joyce said so herself, some late-term abortions are for “socially compelling reasons”.

  42. We know that all the scientific evidence points to the fact that the life of a human being begins at conception. If Joyce Arthur and Paul Steckle had been aborted at 12 weeks gestation they would be just as dead as if they had been aborted at 21 weeks. It seems ironic to me that most of us want to delay our own death and yet many people seem to think that killing a pre-born baby early isn’t as bad as aborting a child in late pregnancy. Paul and Joyce, please consider the fact that if you had been aborted at 21 weeks rather than at 12 weeks you would have lived an extra 9 weeks.

  43. The reason why abortion advocates call the fetus centred approach a “fetus centred fallacy” is because they have to deny the personhood of the fetus. This makes it much easier to kill them. As when any genocide takes place, the dehumanization of the victim group is essential in order to kill them. Otherwise, people would feel like murderers and, by and large, not take part. Always it is the more powerful group dehumanizing the less powerful group. Throughout history, several groups of human beings have been denied personhood. (Person means individual human being, please consult a dictionary). Here are some examples from a National Campus Life Network poster

    “In the eyes of the law…the slave is not a person.”
    -Virginia Supreme Court decision, 1858

    “An Indian is not a person within the meaning of the Constitution.”
    -George Canfield – American Law Review, 1881

    “The statutory word ‘person’ did not in these circumstances include women.”
    -British Voting Rights case, 1909

    “The Reichsgericht itself refused to recognize Jews…as ‘persons’ in the legal sense.”
    -German Supreme Court decision, 1936

    “The law of Canada does not recognize the unborn child as a legal person possessing rights.”
    -Canadian Supreme Court – Winnipeg Child and Family Services case, 1997

    Sometimes the most important lessons take the longest to learn.

    The systematic extermination of an identifiable group of humans beings whether based on race, religion, education level, age, etc. is genocide. There exists an elaborate network of killing centres called “abortion clinics” around the world with the sole purpose of killing the identifiable group of unwanted, unborn children. In Canada, abortion is taxpayer funded making it even more systematic. We’ve all heard of the Planned Parenthood slogan “Every child a wanted child.” How do we know this is hatred and the language of genocide? Simply substitute the name of any religious or ethnic group instead of child…people would be appalled (as they should be). Throughout an abortion advocates’ blogs you will read the dehumanizing of the unborn. Again, this is essential in order for the killing to take place.

  44. Just a quick note here, this so-called secret pro-life caucus is not a secret. There has been many caucuses like this in the past, its nothing new. Please stop the fear mongering that it is a secret, maybe it is to you but I don’t think most people have their head in the sand.

  45. Hey politics and poetry, if you feminists stuck to getting equal rights and not hating men, then I would agree with your definitions, but as it is, its nothing of the sort.

  46. Monika, if I were you, I’d go to Africa and save those animals that are dying every day from cruelty, put your money where your mouth is.

  47. these anti choice folks certainly have no education around global social justice issues and how they have their roots in gender equality.
    they have no understanding of just what the history of systemic global misogeny has wrought for mankind
    they refuse to understand that women will never be equal until they have complete control over their own bodies and fertility.

    they have no idea how the roots of their ‘blame the victim’ mentality and continually demanding that church and state have any say in a woman’s reproduction promotes and supports the endless violence against women that is occurring everywhere on the globe.

    i can only conclude that they must hate women and themselves, to choose such contrived ignorance.

  48. Pingback: The Front Page » Blog Archive » The Sentimental Value of Motherhood

  49. Pingback: April Reign » Blog Archive » The Sentimental Value of Motherhood

  50. I am a woman and I do not hate myself or other women, Dawn. What I recognize is that women are women and men are men. There are differences between the sexes and I embrace and rejoice in that. I don’t want to be a man; I want to be a woman, and one of the beauties of being a woman is the ability to reproduce, to carry a life inside of us. No man gets that opportunity; it is one of the unique qualities of women. I don’t want to get into angry debates, because they get us nowhere. I don’t think that abortion is right for me or for anyone else; I don’t believe in relativism (ie) it’s not ok for me, but if works for you, go for it. I believe that there are black and white morals. And I believe that if we believe that babies in the womb are human beings, which they are, then killing them is wrong. If you don’t believe that babies in the womb are human than you are ignorant of simple human biology. But put that aside. I am grateful that my mother chose to be a woman and pro-life(at the risk of her own life by the way – she denied chemotherapy for cancer that killed her two years after I was born, to carry me to term). So thank you Mom for choosing life and choosing womanhood. It takes courage to be a woman and it takes courage to be pro-life, because yes, it’s the hard road…but most right roads usually are.

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