The Pandemic’s Impact on Pro-Life Issues

Over the past year and a half, the pandemic has brought worry, suffering, and even death. In Canada, there have been over 28,000 deaths attributed to the virus. These numbers reflect the lives of unique, individual, and inherently valuable human beings. Because of this, our society rightfully shows concern for those who have died from COVID-19. However, we continue to fail to respect the value of life at all stages during this global pandemic, through the promotion of abortion and euthanasia.

Annually, an estimated 100,000 Canadian lives are lost to abortion. They too reflect the lives of unique, individual, and inherently valuable human beings. Shouldn’t we be concerned?

Last year, 1,412 people chose to die by euthanasia because of feelings of loneliness and isolation, likely heightened by the pandemic. Should we not be looking for ways to enhance their quality of life and them to see their value to society, rather than affirming their feelings of hopelessness and hastening their deaths?

In this post, we will explain how the pandemic has impacted abortion and euthanasia, as well as provide you with simple tasks you can do to help foster a culture of life during this difficult time.

The Data

Based on the most recent available statistics, in 2019 alone, there were 79,927 reported surgical abortions in Canada. There were also 14,626 abortion pill prescription claims in Ontario, totaling the abortion count to 94,553. Since the abortion pill prescription claims only account for those in Ontario, the total count is likely over 100,000.

Figure 1: Number of reported deaths from abortion, COVID-19, and euthanasia in a given period.

These numbers show that abortion accounts for nearly three times the amount of deaths in Canada, if not more, in comparison to deaths from COVID-19 in 19 months (28,054 as of October 5, 2021).

Abortion via Telemedicine

The pandemic has changed the way women have abortions, with a greater number of them obtained through telemedicine-prescribed abortion pills. This poses a significant risk to the health of women a chemical abortion, as an ultrasound to determine the gestational age and location of the child is not needed.

Without an ultrasound, abortion providers are relying on women to provide information about their last menstrual period (LMP) in order to determine the age of the child. This poses a problem as it is reported that women frequently underestimate gestational age by a month or more. In cases where the gestational age is underestimated, the woman will be more likely to experience a failed abortion resulting in severe complications.

By using abortion pills at home, many women may never walk into an abortion facility to obtain an abortion. Not only does this fail to consider reproductive coercion and isolate women seeking abortion from friends and family who might be able to support them in choosing life, but it also impacts the ability for her to be offered pro-life pregnancy support through public in-person outreach.

Former abortion workers have reported that the “no-show” rate for abortion appointments can be as high as 75% when someone prays and offers pro-life support in front of an abortion facility. However, with a significant number of abortions happening in women’s homes, initiatives like 40 Days for Life and other pregnancy support outreach may struggle to reach out to women, since this outreach cannot be seen when women perform their abortions at home.

Euthanasia & Social Isolation

When it comes to euthanasia and the social isolation associated with minimizing the spread of disease, it is the elderly that are the most at risk. Based on the data from Health Canada, it was reported that 18.6% of people listed loneliness and isolation as a reason for obtaining an assisted death. Professionals in the field of geriatrics have expressed concern towards elderly residents living in isolation, as some have requested an assisted death, rather than live in isolation or lockdown.

Here is what Alex Schadenberg, the Executive Director of the Euthanasia Prevention Coalition had to say about loneliness and the desire to die, “In my 21 years of experience speaking to people who wish to die or nearing death, I have learned that fear of future suffering (not usually current suffering), loneliness, loss of hope and a sense of abandonment are strongly driving the wish to die. The answer is a caring response, a genuine concern for the person, and an assurance that their life has value”.

How you can help

Rather than only trying to convince people that abortion and euthanasia are wrong, in order to effectively change the way our society thinks, we must lay the foundation that all human life has inherent value. Here are some tips to help you build this foundation:

1. Do something:

This might seem like a simple tip, but it is important. The only way we will be able to end abortion and euthanasia is if we all work together. It can be something as simple as donating $10 a month to a pro-life organization, participating in pro-life events like 40 Days for Life, or praying for greater respect for human life at all stages.

2. Start local:

In order to promote the value of life on a global scale, we must start with our own community. This might look like teaching your children about the sanctity of life, supporting friends who are expecting a child, or even calling a local retirement home to see if someone would appreciate a phone call. Reaching out to your local church leadership about ways you can support your church community is a great way to support the sanctity of life. This might look like organizing a meal train for a new mom or someone recovering from illness, visiting or calling elderly members of your church who live alone, or starting a pro-life prayer group.

If you are unable to offer your time, consider financially supporting the work of local pro-life organizations such as pregnancy resource centres, right to life groups, and euthanasia prevention groups, who work towards building a culture of life in your community.

3. Stay Informed:

Do you know what the law says about abortion and euthanasia? Do you know why some people opt for euthanasia while those suffering in similar ways choose to live? Do you know how to have grace-filled conversations about abortion and euthanasia with those in your community?

Having a comprehensive understanding of life issues is important when building a foundation on the value of human life. We recommend reading and watching pro-life resources about abortion and euthanasia, talking to those who are part of the pro-life movement, and doing your own research about life issues. For a comprehensive list of resources, we suggest contacting us to visit our lending library.

Where Does Erin O’Toole Stand on Pro-Life Issues?

Erin O’Toole is now the Leader of the Conservative Party, after a competitive leadership race that featured two strongly pro-life candidates. Pro-life candidate Leslyn Lewis also had a high profile, winning almost 21% of the available points on the first ballot. It was a reminder that many voters care deeply about social & family issues, including abortion and euthanasia.

Where does Erin O’Toole stand on these issues? He has made statements on some pro-life topics, but we can also look to his voting record, since he has been in politics since 2012.

Inconsistent Record on Abortion

He’ll be the first to tell you: he’s pro-choice. “I won the leadership of the Conservative Party as a pro-choice Conservative MP, one with a strong mandate. That’s how I’m going to lead as the leader of the Opposition,” he told media in the days after the leadership results.

He has emphasized his willingness to accept other points of view, especially amongst other MPs when it comes to votes on moral issues. In an email to his supporters, he said he would allow MPs to vote according to their consciences on “moral issues” if he were to lead the government. Earlier this year, he told the Toronto Star that he would permit MPs to bring forward bills about issues such as conscience rights. However, he said that bills explicitly restricting abortion were a “line he wouldn’t cross.”

However, he did vote ‘yes’ in 2016 to Cassie & Molly’s Law, a proposed bill that would have made it a separate offence to kill or injure a preborn child while committing a violent crime against a pregnant woman. (The bill did not pass.)

Pro-life Canadians may be encouraged by his stance on overseas funding of abortion. In an interview during the leadership race, he said, “I do not think abortion services should be part of our foreign aid funding in any way.” Noting the limited resources that we have to offer, he asked, “Why would we ever earmark some of those funds for something that is not only divisive, but it’s almost a condescending foreign policy? We’re allowing an agenda to be advanced rather than advance direct help for the well being of people.” He noted how much good can be done by funding child and maternal health programs overseas, saying that adding abortion funding is “more politics than compassion.”

However, when it comes to abortion, he has said that he will not bring forward government legislation on the issue. In interview with the media, he has re-iterated that he believes abortion is a right, yet promises to work together with members of the party who have pro-life beliefs.

Strong Message on Euthanasia

When it comes to the issue of euthanasia & assisted suicide, his message is much clearer. He has been against euthanasia since it was first introduced to Canada, and voted against Bill C-14 (the 2016 euthanasia bill). In 2017, he told CTV News, “I do not think it is appropriate for society to make determinations on the quality of a life and to engage our public healthcare system to end that life.” He has advocated for better palliative care, and wrote a blog post warning about the slippery slope of euthanasia.

In his blog post, he emphasized the vulnerability of people who may be considering euthanasia, saying, “We must also remember that the citizen that may want to seek this final option is someone that is likely in a mental state of despair and fear from the pain and uncertainty that comes with a serious illness or debilitating condition.”

In his platform, he proposes conscience rights legislation for doctors and other healthcare professionals, ensuring they will not be forced to participate directly in euthanasia or make a referral. When a conscience rights amendment to Bill C-14 was proposed in 2016, he voted in favour of it, though it did not pass.

Support for Families

In his platform, O’Toole has proposed that the Canada Child Benefit should begin at the 7th month of pregnancy, rather than at childbirth, for a first child. This would allow new moms to prepare for their baby’s arrival by helping to cover first-time costs such as a car seat and crib.

In addition, his platform suggests that women who have experienced a miscarriage or stillbirth should receive two weeks of paid parental leave. He also suggests a bereavement leave for parents who have lost a child shortly after birth.

Canada Summer Jobs Grant

In the past few years, pro-life groups have continued to be prohibited from receiving the Canada Summer Jobs grant, which would be used to hire summer interns to do work in the pro-life field. O’Toole promises to pass a law that would stop discrimination when it comes to government grants and government-funded programs. He specifically notes that ‘religion or religious belief’ should not prevent people from receiving a grant, and it may be that this could be extended to pro-life beliefs as well.

What Can We Do?

With an election possibly coming in the near future, there is a great deal pro-life people can do! Erin O’Toole has promised to listen to the grassroots, so it’s a great time to let him know how important pro-life issues are to you. The Conservative policy convention will be held in 2021, and O’Toole has pledged to allow members to determine the party policies at the grassroots level. At the last policy convention, pro-life voices helped to put forward a number of policies, including that the party condemns discrimination against girls through gender-selective abortion.

It’s important for pro-life people to continue sharing the issues that matter to them with the party leadership and encouraging their MPs to vote pro-life. You can also keep involved if you’re a member of the Conservative party. One way is to attend the policy convention as a delegate for your riding. You can make a great difference with your voice!

New ‘Protect Them’ Postcards

Protect Them Here - portrait

Last week, we officially began our “Protect Them” postcard campaign.  Have you sent your postcard yet?

Alliance for Life Ontario has invited all pro-life groups to distribute these postcards.  Each one can be signed and sent to the Prime Minister’s office, to draw attention to the lack of protection of unborn children in Canada.

Each postcard presents the question: we protect children by using carseats and safety cribs — why don’t we protect them in the womb?

Over 100 'Protect Them' postcards, ready to mail!
Over 100 ‘Protect Them’ postcards, signed and ready to mail!

The back of the postcard reads:

Protect Them Here - side2

So far, we have distributed nearly 800 of these postcards to local groups and churches. Each person who signs them will be helping to send an important message from all over the province.

You can pick up a postcard from our office — or pick up a whole stack to hand out to your friends and family!

 

It’s Not Too Late – Reversing the Abortion Pill

worried young womanWhen Emily left the abortion clinic, she was filled with regret. Only 19 years old, she was unexpectedly pregnant and felt overwhelmed by the thought of having a child. She had gone to Planned Parenthood and taken the abortion pill, and she cried the whole way home.

Thankfully, her story doesn’t end there. Searching online, Emily found information on Abortion Pill Reversal. Calling their helpline, she spoke with a nurse right away who told her it wasn’t too late to save her child’s life.

The abortion pill, which was recently approved for use in Canada under the name ‘mifegymiso’, is a two-step process. First, a pill called mifepristone is taken to cut off the unborn child’s supply of nutrients. Then, 24-28 hours later, a second pill, misoprostol, is taken to induce contractions so that the child will be pushed out of the mother’s womb.

In Canada, this can be done up to 49 days of pregnancy. This is measured from a woman’s last period, so the actual age of the child at this limit is 35 days, or five weeks. At this time, the child’s heart has already been beating for two weeks, and brain development is well underway. (For more information on prenatal development, visit the Endowment for Human Development website.)

The Abortion Pill Reversal procedure began in the United States, where the abortion pill is responsible for nearly half of all non-hospital abortions. If done shortly after the first pill is taken (24-72 hours), it is successful about 55% of the time. It consists of a progesterone treatment that works to reverse the effects of the mifepristone. Thankfully, there are now doctors in Canada who can provide the service as well. The method has received the support of the American Association of Pro-Life Obstetricians and Gynecologists.

photo of a baby's feet Emily gave birth to her son Ezekiel. Her amazing story is one of many; nearly 200 babies’ lives have been saved by reversing the effects of the abortion pill. You can read more amazing stories and view videos on the Abortion Pill Reversal website. (Watch a video of Emily’s story here.)

At Guelph & Area Right to Life, we believe it is crucial to spread the word about this reversal procedure as the abortion pill becomes available in Canada. This year, we will be running advertising campaigns in our community to let people know about this life-saving option. If you would like to donate towards this message, we invite you to contribute online through CanadaHelps!

Have you taken the abortion pill? It may not be too late!  Call 1-877-558-0333.  This Abortion Pill Reversal helpline is accessible from Canada, as well as the United States.

More information on the dangers of mifegymiso: Health Canada’s ‘Myths & Facts’ page 

Regret taking the abortion pill? Please call now.

 

 

 

One Simple Item Changed My Mind About Abortion

Photo of precious feet pin

By Hanna Caruso, Program Manager of Guelph & Area Right to Life

I have not always been pro-life.  When I was younger, I hadn’t given the issue of abortion much thought.  Though it didn’t seem like a good thing, it seemed accepted by society, and I imagined there might be cases where it was necessary.

Abortion was an issue that did not impact me, and so I never thought to find out how often it happened in Canada, or how far along in a pregnancy abortion was legal.

Photo of precious feet pin
Precious Feet Pins are the exact size and shape of a 10-week unborn baby’s feet.

“That all began to change one day when I saw a Precious Feet pin.”

That all began to change one day when I saw a Precious Feet pin.  You may have seen these pins – tiny, gold-plated, life-sized representations of an unborn child’s feet at just ten weeks after conception.  A friend of mine was wearing one on her purse, and I asked her what it was.  She explained the meaning of the pin, and her answer surprised me and changed my thinking entirely.

What turned me from apathy to action was that an unborn child at ten weeks was clearly human.  Having unconsciously absorbed the common misconception that a pregnancy consisted of ‘just a clump of cells’ at that point, I was shocked.

This one event caused me to continue asking questions.  I found out that abortion is legal through all nine months of pregnancy in Canada, and that there are 100,000 abortions every year in our country.  It was impossible to maintain inaction in the face of that information.  That one pin ended up leading me to become an advocate for unborn children.

Isn’t it amazing how a single individual having the boldness to take one small action – such as wearing a pin – can make such a difference?

Precious Feet pins are an amazing educational tool.  Whenever I visit high schools to do pro-life presentations, I always bring a supply of these pins.  If each student has the boldness to wear that pin on their backpack or purse, I know the ripple effect will change lives and save lives.

The beauty of these pins is that they allow us to look into the womb, at unborn life that we cannot yet see.  It shows us that whether we recognize it or not, abortion impacts us all, because it is a human issue.  When we see that unborn children are fully human, we naturally recognize that they should be protected.

giving tuesday logo

For Giving Tuesday on November 29th, we are asking you to give towards pro-life education by helping us buy these pins!  A donation of $30 would provide the pins to an entire classroom.  A donation of $120 would help to provide pins to 100 people at a Right to Life resource table during a local festival or fair.  We are also putting donations toward the purchase of small prenatal models (11-14 weeks size) for use in schools and in the wider community.  Both of these items are a little over $1.00 each, and they make such a difference.

You can donate online through our CanadaHelps page.  Donate today!

Abortion Pill RU-486 Approved in Canada

In late July of this year, the RU-486 abortion pill was approved for use in Canada.  The pill, also called mifepristone, and marketed as Mifegymiso, is used to kill a preborn child.  By approving this drug, scientists at Health Canada are putting its stamp of approval on this so-called “safe and effective option”.

This is not only misleading, but dangerous – in more ways than one.

As you might have guessed, mifepristone is never safe for the unborn child.  In fact, it is lethal: it works by blocking progesterone, effectively starving the developing child of needed nutrients – ending his or her life.  Following this, a drug called misoprostol is taken to induce contractions.

pillsThe drug has been approved for use up to 49 days gestation – which equates to 35 days (or 5 weeks) after conception – at which point the baby’s heart has already beaten over 2,400,000 times.

It is sad to see a mechanism for ending life being celebrated as a tool for ‘freedom and choice’.   Advocates of abortion are hailing RU-486 as a big win for women (the Toronto Star unabashedly proclaims, “Canadian women win gold – the abortion pill”).  Yet, by holding on so firmly to a narrative that refuses to question any element of abortion, they are doing women a disservice.  Crucial information on the drug’s negative effects is being ignored or dismissed.

Some are still willing to speak up: Renata Klein, an Australian feminist and academic, has released an in-depth analysis of the harms of RU-486.  She comes at it from a pro-abortion perspective, but sheds an honest light on the serious side effects that many refuse to acknowledge.

photo of RU-486 book
“RU-486: Misconceptions, Myths and Morals” is available at our office library, for those who would like to learn more.

In her recently re-released book “RU 486: Misconceptions, Myths and Morals” she describes adverse events such as excessive bleeding, hemorrhage requiring surgical intervention, and fatal sepsis.  She notes that Finnish researchers found that 20% of women who took mifepristone experienced an adverse reaction – a number four times higher than for surgical abortions.  For example, excessive bleeding (requiring a medical consultation and possibly even a blood transfusion) is a complication that has been experienced by thousands of women.

In Sweden, the drug made headlines in 2004 when it claimed the life of a 16-year-old girl named Rebecca.  She had chosen an RU-486 abortion because she was told it was a ‘better’ option than a suction abortion.  She was alone at her boyfriend’s apartment when she died due to severe hemorrhage.  This occurred even though the hospital followed all ‘safety precautions’.  The local publicity led other women to come forward with their experiences of similar severe complications.

This highlights a major concern: after taking RU-486 and misoprostol, women are most often alone.  This could lead to life-threatening medical problems going undetected.  Ectopic pregnancy (which occurs in 2% of pregnancies in the US) is a serious concern, as explained by the American Association of Pro-Life Obstetricians and Gynecologists:

“She will undoubtedly interpret bleeding and pain as consistent with a pharmaceutical abortion, since these are nearly universal effects of mifepristone and misoprostol.  This leaves her with the immediate threat of serious harm, or death, if the ectopic pregnancy ruptures.”

Over the course of ten years in the United States, 58 women were hospitalized after using RU-486 with an undetected ectopic pregnancy, and an additional two women died.  Yet the FDA still states that they believe “the benefits of Mifeprex outweigh the risks”.

Sadly, the list goes on.  Death due to massive infection (sepsis) after taking RU-486 is another major concern, and it is surprising to see how little media attention this issue has received. The FDA’s adverse event report of 2011 noted that 8 women have died due to sepsis after an RU-486 abortion.  This number does not include the additional documented deaths in the UK, Portugal, France, and Canada.  How many more might there be in China and India, where RU-486 is used but no adverse event information is available?

This life-threatening complication is all the more concerning because – much like ectopic pregnancy –  the warning signs are masked by the expected symptoms of the abortion.

RU-486 is often promoted as a ‘solution’ for women in remote areas who have no abortion facilities nearby.  As Ms. Klein states in her book, the seriousness of these complications “again makes it clear how dangerous it can be for women in remote areas without access to emergency hospitalization to be told that [mifepristone] abortion is ‘safe and effective’”. (RU-486: Misconceptions, Myths and Morals, p. xix) 

Despite all of this, we still hear the stubborn assertion that RU-486 should be available through telemedicine.   Amazingly, Heather Mallick of the Toronto Star even calls for the pill to be supplied over-the-counter, entirely removing the requirement for women to see a doctor.  This is an absurd and potentially lethal suggestion, revealing a distinct disconnect with the reality of inducing abortion.

Both Health Canada and the drug’s manufacturers have released strict guidelines stating that only physicians can dispense the drug, and that women must have access to emergency medical care.  In addition, physicians are required to confirm gestational age, check for ectopic pregnancy and a number of other conditions, and be aware of drug interactions.  The doctor must also know the age of the patient, since the safety and efficacy of the drug is not known for patients under the age of 15.  These are not requirements that can be casually dispensed with, and to suggest that they should be shows a stunning disregard for women’s safety.

Given the many concerns about RU-486, it is with trepidation that we will wait to see how the landscape will change in Canada when it becomes available next year.  What we do know is this: the womb should be the safest place on earth – yet in our country, where there are absolutely no limits on abortion, Health Canada has paved the way for another method of killing.  Not only this, but they have put the very women they claim will ‘benefit’ in unnecessary danger.

 

 

A Message of Hope: Be There on April 23rd

Angelina Steenstra at the 40 Days for Life Closing Celebration

Angelina Steenstra became involved in the pro-life movement after her own painful experience of abortion.  Since then she has done so much to expose the truth about the harmful emotional and physical effects of abortion.  Angelina is the National Coordinator for the Silent No More Awareness Campaign in Canada, which works to make the public aware of the devastating effects of abortion and provides opportunities for women and men to share their abortion testimonies.

Angelina Steenstra
Angelina Steenstra of Silent No More Awareness

On their website there are over 2000 stories of abortion regret.  The very real experiences of these women – and men – are a stark contrast to pro-abortion claims that abortion is just another medical procedure, and that the child is just a ‘bunch of cells’.  Abortion regret is something that women may hold on to for decades.  Silent No More recently found that more than half of the women who had contributed testimonies did not begin to seek healing until more than 20 years after the abortion.  However, healing can happen whether it begins 20 weeks or 20 years after an abortion.

The stories from those who are Silent No More are not just of regret, but also of healing; the act of sharing these stories is a step in the healing process.

Angelina, drawing on the spirit of Martin Luther King Jr.’s “I Have A Dream” speech, writes:

“I dreamt of a day when men and women, who have experienced abortion in their lives, would stand up across this nation and tell the truth about what abortion had done to their lives.  I believed that in telling the truth, people would discover freedom, and in doing so would reach others who were isolated and alone, giving them hope.”

As much as there is sadness in recounting these stories of loss, Angelina is right: there is hope.  The truth is a powerful tool, and it is boldly displayed in every Silent No More sign that reads “I regret my abortion.”  It has the power to bring about change, in one person and in entire communities.

On Wednesday, April 23rd, this message will be the central focus of our 40 Days for Life Closing Celebration.  Admission is free (a goodwill offering will be received).  Join us in the lower hall of St. Joseph’s Parish (409 Paisley Rd, Guelph) at 7:00pm.

Please do not miss this chance to hear Angelina’s message of hope and healing.

A Light for Life at the Supreme Court Prayer Vigil

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January 28 was an anniversary we at the office wished we didn’t have to mark.  It was on that day in 1988 that the Supreme Court struck down the existing abortion law, leaving us where we are today: with no protection for unborn children at any stage of pregnancy.

For those who are unaware of the legal history of abortion in Canada, it is well summed-up in this article by Paul Ranalli, MD, which appeared in the National Right to Life News:

…Canada’s initial loosening of the previously strong protection for the unborn was smuggled by then-Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau into a 1969 “omnibus” bill, a sprawling piece of legislation. The intent was to quietly open up a range of exceptions to the legal sanctions against abortion, while still keeping it within the federal criminal code.

A much more modest law than the Roe v. Wade result, it was still considered controversial enough that it was passed as quietly as possible. And it worked. Only pro-life activists realized the serious nature of the threat to the unborn and raised a protest, but the majority of the press and public, while not yet in the universal pro-choice lockstep that we see today, were less perturbed by the change in the law.

The second and final judicial blow to protection for the unborn in Canada came in 1988, when a challenge to the existing abortion law by renegade abortionist Henry Morgentaler led the Supreme Court of Canada to strike down the law on the narrow grounds that access to hospitals with abortion committees and services were unevenly available across the country, and that this regional difference constituted a threat to the security of women, as defined by the recently drafted Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms (1982).

And so, on January 28 of this year, members of the community braved the bitter cold to join Guelph & Area Right to Life at our Supreme Court Prayer Vigil in front of Guelph General Hospital that evening.  Jakki Jeffs, president of Guelph & Area Right to Life, describes the scene:

“We had 10 turn out on a very, very cold winter evening who walked with candles lighting up a little path in front of Guelph General Hospital. We had frozen feet, fingers, noses and toes but we walked, talked and prayed for an end to abortion in our city and in Canada. We know that our little lights were joined by thousands of others across the country and while we could not see each other, this light for life will bring a new day to Canada very soon.

We mourned the almost 6,000 children who perished by abortion at Guelph General Hospital in past years and prayed for change of heart in Guelph. Abortions can be performed in physician’s offices up to 13 weeks and we have no way of knowing if this is happening in Guelph. So we pray that our Guelph medical establishments, personnel and counseling will be directed to supporting life not abortion.”

 

 

 

Unacceptable Risk: Canada and the RU-486 Abortion Pill

pillsOn November 25th an article entitled “Medical abortion in Canada: behind the times” was printed in the Canadian Medical Association Journal and a cover story was carried in national newspapers entitled “Canadians should have access to abortion pill RU-486, leading medical journal argues.”

In my experience, RU-486 is the ‘chemical coat hanger abortion’ of the 90’s.  It has bubbled under the surface and now, once again, proponents desire it in Canada. In an amazing research book entitled “RU486 – Misconceptions, Myths and Moralswritten by three pro-abortion feminists in 1992, they declared: “[RU-486] constitutes a new form of medical violence that endangers women’s lives and violates their right to be free from bodily harm.”

In an open letter to MPs in Australia in 2005, Renata Klein, one of the book’s authors, stated:

Then, as now, some of you will be astonished that as an internationally recognised feminist and academic who has worked on reproductive issues for 25 years and strongly supports a woman’s right to safe legal abortion, I will side with what are seen as conservative and anti-abortion views.

However, then, as now, I cannot support the view that chemical abortion is seen (a) as good reproductive choice for women, and (b) as a safe alternative to already available abortion by aspiration. I write to you because I am appalled by the misinformation given to the public by supporters of RU-486, who continue to claim chemical abortion is safe, and who portray it as a simple procedure; take three RU486 pills and –bingo! You are no longer pregnant.

In the article entitled “Canadians should have access to abortion pill RU-486, leading medical journal argues,” we are told that RU486 is the “gold standard” and “essential medication”. Shockingly, we are informed that cancer and ulcer drugs are currently used “off-label” by physicians to cause abortion and this is “second rate”  and “cumbersome” but seemingly fine for Canadian women!

RU-486 will take us down one more level – a drug which has been specifically designed to starve a child, followed by the administration of another drug, Cytotec to induce labour and expel the dead or dying child. Four visits at minimum to the facility, then the wait for your chemical miscarriage, at home alone, work or play, plus another internal examination – and by the way, bring what’s left of the child with you. Doesn’t this all sound very liberating?

The columnist noted that one woman had died of a bacterial infection during 90’s clinical trials held in Canada. She did not mention that the doctor leading the research admitted that they did not inform women of a letter from the manufacturers of Cytotec, the second drug used, that it was dangerous for women to use it “off-label”.

The columnist noted that other women across the world have died but that “investigations could find no explanation for the cluster of what are normally rare infections, she [Sheila Dunn, CMAJ article author] said, adding that there had been none in recent years.

I imagine neither of these women had time to check the FDA website and particularly the Mifepristone US Post-marketing Adverse Events Summary through 04/30/2011, which noted that of the 2207 adverse events listed, 612 women were hospitalized, 339 experienced blood loss that required transfusions, 256 had infections, pelvic inflammatory disease, endometriosis, pelvic infections with sepsis, with 48 being severe, hospitalized for 2-3 days. 58 women had ectopic pregnancies; the RU-486 regimen is contraindicated for women with ectopic pregnancies! Several of the women (7 of 14) who died in the US “died from sepsis (severe illness caused by infection of the bloodstream) after medical abortion with mifepristone and misoprostol…Sepsis is a known risk related to any type of abortion”. (See FDA Mifepristone information page.)

It also points out that 7 women were infected with Clostridium sordelli that did not present “the usual symptoms.” There was no fever! The side effects of these infections are abdominal pain or discomfort, weakness, nausea, vomiting or diarrhea.  However, all of these are expected side effects of chemical abortion.

If Clostridium sordelli presents with no fever, this is extremely significant and dangerous for women: how will they or the facility recognize the infection? 17-year-old Holly Patterson and others might still be alive if their abortion facility had done so.

Guest Post by Jakki Jeffs, Executive Director of Alliance for Life Ontario and President of Guelph & Area Right to Life

Mary Wagner: Reaching Out

At the heart of the pro-life movement is a desire to reach out to those in need.  Unborn children need a voice to speak up for their right to be born.  Women facing an unexpected pregnancy need support, understanding and encouragement as they accept their role as a new mother.  Whether we stand in front of the abortion facility displaying life-affirming messages, fundraise for a crisis pregnancy center, or debate abortion with students on a university campus, we are reaching out.  It is always our hope that the pro-life message, given with love, will touch a person’s heart and increase their understanding of the value of human life.

Reaching out: this is something that Mary Wagner has done again and again.  She will be spending this Christmas behind bars, in the Vanier Centre for Women in Milton.  She has been arrested numerous times, most recently on August 15th, 2012.  She entered a Toronto abortion facility and attempted to peacefully speak to the women there, and was arrested on the charge of “mischief” (interference with lawful employment / operation of a business).  Mary remains in prison because she will not accept the bail conditions that would force her to stay away from the abortion facility.

Mary Wagner
Mary Wagner

Mary’s legal counsel believes that her actions may fall within a section of the Criminal Code of Canada that allows a person to prevent assault on another human being.  Mary was counseling women to choose life for their children, so the question is whether that section of the Criminal Code “covers all human beings or just those who are already born,” stated her lawyer.

With kindness, and bearing roses, Mary bravely reached out to abortion-minded women, asking them to change their minds and choose life.  Her actions have truly saved lives.  We too are given opportunities to reach out, to speak up, and to share the truth that life has value.  Some of us, like Mary, courageously seek conversation with mothers in the very moments before their children’s lives are slated to be taken away.  In the interactions we have each day, we can – with courage – also speak up for life.  Like Mary, we can change hearts through kindness and truth.

While we prepare ourselves to reach out to those around us, we can also reach out to Mary.  You are encouraged to send her a Christmas card, letting her know that she is loved and supported.  Take the time to read an open letter from Mary, found here.

Cards can be mailed to:

Mary Wagner
Vanier Centre for Women
P.O Box 1040
655 Martin St.
Milton, ON
L9T 5E6

Note:

When sending Mary a card, do not include any stickers (return address, pro-life stickers), or any laminated items. Do not include any questions about the daily activity of the detention centre.  Put your address directly on the card or letter, as the envelope may not be given to her.