Saturday, September 11, 2004

Quebec Exports Women for Late-Term Abortions

Last Updated | Sep 10 2004 03:05 PM EDT
Some abortions must be done in U.S.: minister

QUEBEC CITY - Quebec Health Minister Philippe Couillard regrets the need to send some Quebec women to the U.S. for late-term abortions
Last year, the provincial government sent 30 patients to clinics in Kansas and New York for treatment.
Couillard said that Quebec simply doesn't have the expertise to perform the specialized procedures in the province.
Long-time abortion activist Dr. Henry Morgentaler said he approves of Quebec sending women to Kansas for late-term abortions.
"These abortions are difficult to do and they have a high rate of complications," he said, noting that late-term abortions require specialists to carry out the procedure.
He pointed out that Quebec is not the only province that does this. "We do it here in Ontario as well, because we do not have enough doctors here in Canada that would provide abortions after 22 weeks of pregnancy," Morgentaler said.
It is rare for a woman to require an abortion after 22 weeks of pregnancy, and is most often needed by very young women or women with difficult social situations, he said.


Quebec hopes to offer late-term abortions
Last Updated Fri, 10 Sep 2004 19:06:28 EDT

QUEBEC - The province hopes to have a doctor in place next year that will offer late-term abortions to women six months pregnant and beyond, Quebec health officials announced Friday.
Canadian women now travel to Colorado, Kansas and Washington to obtain these abortions because no Canadian doctor will perform them, including Dr. Henry Morgentaler, who says he has ethical problems performing 24-week pregnancies.
But despite his personal views, Morgentaler doesn't believe new rules on late-term abortions are needed because most abortions take place between six and nine weeks of pregnancy.
The government's decision on late-term abortion was defended by Quebec Health Minister Philippe who said, "In Quebec, our doctors at the present time don't feel comfortable doing abortions later than 22 weeks. From 20 to 22 weeks they're all done in Sherbrooke, after that we still don't have the capacity to do them here."
"It is extremely hard for a woman to have a late abortion and also hard for the doctor that performs it, both psychologically and other ways, Couillard told CBC radio, "
Quebec's bishop Msgr. Marc Ouellet criticized the government's announcement saying the whole concept of abortion is unacceptable, regardless of weeks. He would prefer the money be spent helping women complete their pregnancy and offer the child for adoption.
The Canadian Medical Association suggests an abortion take place before the fetus is viable, usually at 500 grams or 20 weeks of pregnancy.
In 2003, 30 women from Quebec sought abortions in the U.S. past 22 weeks of pregnancy. A B.C. health official says that a handful of women from the province head to Washington state each week.
Each late-term abortion costs about $5,000 US.
In 2001, 96.7 per cent of Canadians had abortions before 16 weeks of pregnancy, a Statistics Canada survey shows.