Dear Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, Honourable Minister Bibeau, and Honourable Minister Monsef,
As a research institute dedicated to researching the short and long term effects of abortion on women, men, and families worldwide, we are greatly concerned with your recent decision to include abortion related procedures in the $650 million to be allocated towards women’s health and rights around the world.
International studies show abortion is harmful to women
On the occasion of International Women’s Day, the deVeber Institute can recommend profoundly women-friendly ways to enhance maternal health and wellbeing that do not resort to the ‘first world’ promoting abortion in the developing world. International studies demonstrate that a woman’s right to informed consent is violated when abortion becomes a widespread practice. Evidence from over 650 international studies indicates that abortion both legal and illegal can lead to significant health risks and their future children.
The complications following pregnancy termination for women can be both physical and psychological. Devastating health consequences can include hemorrhaging (dangerous internal bleeding), retained tissue, infection, septic shock (massive bodily shock due to infection), cervical laceration, uterine perforation, and PID (Pelvic Inflammatory Disease). Mental illness issues can include depression, and immediate psychiatric morbidity including self-harm and suicidal ideation. Longer-term complications can include infertility as well as premature birth, ectopic pregnancy, and placenta previa in subsequent pregnancies all conditions which are extremely dangerous particularly for women in developing countries. The risk of breast cancer can statistically increase if a woman’s first term pregnancy is aborted. Furthermore, the rate of complications following medical (drug-induced) abortion is up to four times higher than for surgically-induced abortions.
Developing countries need proper health care and support, not abortion
Women in general and in developing countries in particular, are not told these risks. Research shows that women and families in developing countries do not need increased access to abortion in order to improve maternal health or reduce infant mortality. Women and families want to be able to carry their pregnancies successfully, and to full-term. Developing countries need health care that includes prenatal care, better nutrition, clean water, medicine, safe deliveries, and post-natal care. Canada has shown continued dedication to the commitment to improving maternal health and reducing infant mortality overseas by supporting the Millennium Development Goals. However, increasing access to abortion and abortion-related services only vitiates these exact goals and commitments.
The deVeber Institute has carried out extensive research on countries with reduced Maternal Mortality Rates (MMR) and reduced Infant Mortality Rates (IMR). Our research has established irrefutably that MMRs are significantly lower in countries like Chile, Nicaragua, Bangladesh, Uganda, Egypt, Poland and Ireland, where abortion is illegal, than in neighbouring countries where it is available on demand, such as Guyana, India, South Africa, Hungary and the U.K.
Why is this so?
It appears that the countries which restrict abortion are much more committed to providing good pre- and post-natal care to mothers and their babies. Chile is an especially well-documented case of a country that has adopted many improvements, such as ensuring skilled birth attendants, as well as hospitalization, and education for women, while maintaining a restrictive abortion law.
Another case in point, despite its socioeconomic struggles, Bangladesh, is one of nine countries which on the way to achieving the Millennium Development Goal (MDG) #5. A decrease in MMR is possible because of government initiatives to move towards community clinics, not home health services, followed by upgrades to proper obstetric care and training of medical personnel.
An organization that makes a real difference: MaterCare International
MaterCare International, a Canadian organization dedicated to saving lives reminds us they do not require expensive equipment or unnecessary reproductive technologies. Instead, improving maternal health requires basic healthcare, which MaterCare provides to women in developing countries across the world such as Ghana, Kenya, and Haiti.
MaterCare is a Canadian initiative founded in 1995 which seeks to “breathe life back into the practice of obstetrics and into maternal healthcare”. It provides training to local health care practitioners, hospital construction, and treatment for high-risk mothers, in addition to conducting research and advocacy.
Its founder, Dr. Robert Walley, an emeritus Professor of Obstetrics and Gynaecology at Memorial University of Newfoundland and a Fellow of the Royal College of Physicians & Surgeons of Canada promotes “a new initiative needed based on life and hope” restoring dignity to motherhood and addresses that maternal mortality and morbidity are given little attention in the media and are neglected internationally, though the need for international help is dire.
We ask you to rescind your plan to fund abortion and abortion-related services overseas and invest in groups like MaterCare International who aim to save lives of mothers and children, by providing what developing nations really desire proper prenatal care, better nutrition, clean water, medicine, safe deliveries, and post-natal care.
The impression of Canada promoting abortion and abortion-related services overseas raises the spectre of Canada being responsible for being involved in racist population control. Canadians do not believe that motherhood, education, and paid work are in any way mutually exclusive.
We will be happy to supply you with more information about our research demonstrating the superior maternal and infant mortality rates that have been achieved by countries where access to abortion is restricted.
Kathy Matusiak-Costa, Executive Director
The deVeber Institute for Bioethics and Social Research
415 Oakdale Rd Suite #215 Toronto, ON M3N 1W7