Abortuary admits danger of abortion
By Tony Gosgnach
A series of information sheets obtained by The Interim and related
to a Toronto abortuary offer a revealing glimpse into the workings,
tactics and mindset of personnel within the abortion industry. They
also indicate an attempt by such personnel to guard themselves against
possible future legal actions by revealing some of the negative and
dangerous aspects of the abortion procedure.
The documents, which include appointment booking information, emanate
from the Choice in Health Clinic abortuary on Parliament Street in Toronto.
They indicate that the abortuary provides "services" including: abortions
to four-and-a-half months' gestation; "decision counselling;" "emergency
contraception;" post-abortion checkups; and post-abortion"counselling."
The documents suggest that a client has the right to see and/or have
a photocopy of an ultrasound photo (apparently of the preborn child)
and may see or take away her "pregnancy tissue." The abortuary states
that it can also make arrangements for women who have concerns or questions,
or need reassurance, within three or four days of an abortion, "when
most women who have concerns or questions call us."
Because the Choice in Health abortuary is located in an area populated
by many immigrants and minorities, copies of its information are translated
into other languages, including Vietnamese, Urdu, Spanish, Chinese and
On the financial side of things, the abortuary says it "regrets" that
it must ask for a payment of $400 in cash for any woman who does not
have a valid Ontario Health Insurance Plan card on the day of her abortion.
It limits appointments to these uninsured women to just three per week.
Clients having a laminaria (a device that dilates the cervix) inserted
must pay the full amount in cash, or by cash and a subsidy agreement,
on the day the laminaria is inserted.
Interestingly, the documents present some basic information on fetal
development; for example, they acknowledge that within the 14 weeks
the Choice in Health Clinic commits abortions: an "early brain," liver,
kidney and pancreas form; arms, legs, eyes and ears grow; a "soft skeleton"
forms; and blood vessels form and begin to connect with one another.
In the category of "risks," the abortuary admits that infection in
the uterus occurs in two to four per cent of abortions, while "pregnancy
tissue" stays behind in up to one per cent of abortions, and may necessitate
a second abortion. Other risks include "continued pregnancy" (i.e.,
a failed abortion), blood in the uterus; excessive bleeding; injury
to the uterus or other internal organs and allergic reactions.
The abortuary promises "experienced, non-directive, non-judgemental"
pre-abortion counselling, during which the benefits and disadvantages
of parenting, adoption and abortion are said to be discussed. "Clients
who decide to continue the pregnancy will be given resource information
and referrals as desired," it claims.
For those clients who have passed their 14th week of pregnancy, Choice
in Health pledges to assist in arranging an appointment elsewhere in
Ontario, where abortions can be performed up to the 5th month of pregnancy.
This can be done through code names, so no one else knows that an abortuary
is involved. Of course, Choice in Health's phone number is blocked.
Elsewhere in the documents, Choice in Health claims that abortions
create fewer complications that a tonsillectomy, and that it is safer
for a woman to abort than carry a baby to birth - assertions that would
be hotly contested by many. It adds that women undergoing abortions
are offered the drugs fentanyl and atropine to help with pain relief
After an abortion, a woman can expect bleeding, cramps, nausea, tiredness,
breast tenderness and frequent urination. There can also be "sadness
or a sense of loss, even when the decision to have the abortion was
easy to make." Mood changes and depression are other after-effects.
Choice in Health stresses that women experiencing complications or
emergencies after an abortion "may" be able to get help from a doctor
or emergency room, but they should "CALL US FIRST" (emphasis in the
original documentation) because "few doctors or hospitals have as much
experience as we do with women who have just had an abortion."
A brochure "For Men About Abortion" notes that many men escorting women
for abortions are "confused, worried and upset." It acknowledges that
"there are always feelings about a pregnancy and an abortion" and that
"sadness and a sense of loss may also accompany an abortion." Indeed,
a man "might find himself from time to time trying to imagine what the
baby would have looked like."
Another document involves using journalling questions to help a woman
deal with "the healing choice." It advocates using "creative selfishness"
to care for oneself without feeling guilty. Eliminating guilt is the
key: "If you don't champion your rights, who is going to?"
The also package includes an "Abortion Resolution Workbook" from Cincinatti
Women's Services, which offers methods for experiencing "wholeness and
healing" despite an abortion experience that leaves women "feeling bad,
having nightmares, regretting their decision or simply still hurting
and unable to forget."
"Do you see death as a bad thing? Can death be a good thing?" asks
the workbook ominously.