Canadian Abortion Rights Action League’s (CARAL) Web site claims, “Under normal medical conditions, abortion is a very safe procedure.” It does admit, “rare, serious complications requiring follow-up treatment can occur.” It also acknowledges recent studies suggesting a link between abortions and the development of breast cancer, but calls these studies “inconsistent and inconclusive.” According to Isabelle Begin, v-p of a pro-life group in Quebec, abortions are far more dangerous to women than groups such as CARAL admit. In 2/01, Begin’s group was sued by an abortion center for publishing a pamphlet claiming that one out of 25 women receiving a legal abortion in Canada is in subsequent need of up to 7 days of hospital care.
The clinic claimed the pamphlet was “fallacious, morbid and alarmist.” The clinic presented a Statistics Canada table placing the abortion complication rate at 1.1%, far lower than pro-lifers claimed 4%. In 7/01, however, the abortion center dropped the suit, probably because the pro-life group did an effective job of rebutting the center’s evidence in court. “They never took the time to read the endnotes at the bottom of the Statistics Canada complication table they quote.” RVO demonstrated to the court that the StatsCan study cited by the abortion center listed only those abortions performed in hospitals & did not include the nearly 1/3 of abortions performed at abortion sites. Furthermore, only 75% of hospitals report abortions to the Statistics Canada Therapeutic Abortions database. Of those, only some declare medical complications, and even then, only “immediate” complications are taken into account. Another StatsCan study, “Second-trimester abortions: Trends & medical complications,” suggests an abortion performed at five-to-six months gestation runs a 22% risk of serious complications, up to and including death for the mother. A medical researcher by training, Ms. Begin cites several reasons abortions are dangerous. “A pregnant woman should never have surgery, let alone major abdominal surgery like abortion,” she states. “Her blood coagulation factors are extremely vulnerable, and she can easily bleed to death. Shock, coma and death can happen within a few minutes after the onset of hemorrhaging, yet clinics [sic] can’t be equipped for emergency blood transfusions.” Begin also notes that suction machines often used for the procedure can damage a woman’s uterus and even cause blood poisoning by sucking in fecal material from the intestines. Blood poisoning can also occur when abortions are incomplete. “Cadaver parts remain inside the mother’s womb and general blood poisoning [septicemia] sets in,” Ms. Begin says. “That’s often fatal.” [Report Newsmagazine; Eli Schuster, 20Aug01; Pro-Life Infonet]