- Barbara Kay: The abortion issue we’re ignoring
Last week’s murder of Dr. George Tiller, probably the world’s most committed abortion provider, evoked a storm of emotive rhetoric from familiar antagonists in the never-quite-dormant abortion debate over “rights.” Those advocating for an unborn child’s right to live once again faced off against those advocating for a woman’s right to terminate a life within her own body.
There’s a third side to the debate that gets short media shrift: emerging knowledge about medical risks surrounding induced abortion (IA). Throughout 40 years of highly publicized ideological squabbling, researchers in the field of human reproduction have been quietly beavering away on mounting epidemiological data around IA and its link to preterm birth (PTB) in a future pregnancy. Recent findings in their research remind us of a “right” generally observed in the breach: the right of women seeking safe abortions to informed consent.
Approximately 100,000 abortions are performed annually in Canada (30 per 100 live births), about a million in the U. S. and some 14 million worldwide, a significant percentage of them repeats (in the U. S. 46%). These are conservative figures: The U. S. National Survey of Family Growth estimates only six of 10 prior IAs are reported.