Three Conservative MPs beg RCMP to examine late-term abortions as homicides

Hey, remember when MP Stephen Woodworth tried to reopen the abortion debate and the Canadian government voted no?

Apparently three Conservative members of Parliament did not receive that memo. 

In a letter dated January 23, 2013, MPs Maurice Vellacott (a pastor and personal care worker from Saskatoon—Wanuskewin), Leon Benoit (a farmer/economist representing Vegreville-Wainwright) and Wladyslaw Lizon (an engineer from Mississauga East—Cooksville) beg the RCMP to investigate some scandalous doings, namely "numerous breaches of the Criminal Code - to be specific, homicides".

The letter states: "These killings appear to have started out as attempted abortions, but the babies were born alive."

Their "proof"? A blog post from October 19, 2012, that claims, "From 2000 to 2009 in Canada, there were 491 abortions, of 20 weeks gestation and greater, that resulted in live births." 

The blog's author explains that she came up with this number after looking through Statistics Canada's statistics on deaths during the perinatal period, specifically the section entitled "Termination of pregnancy, affecting fetus and newborn". 

(The blog also claims, "This means that the aborted child died after it was born", which doesn't even make logical sense.)

Anyway, all this non-scientific pearl-clutching completely ignores the very valid reasons why a woman would have a late-term abortion.

For those playing at home, here's why a woman would have an abortion after 20 weeks:

  • The fetus is likely going to die 
  • The woman carrying the fetus is likely going to die
  • All of the above

Indeed, late-term abortions constitute 0.3 to 0.4 percent of all abortions performed in Canada.

For those imagining babies getting their heads dashed against rocks: the third trimester of a pregnancy typically begins at 24 weeks, so we're talking about late second-term abortions. In Canada, a woman can't even have an elective abortion after 24 weeks anyway, which indicates that one performed at that point would be medically necessary!

But the old, outraged, paternalistic white dudes must have missed the newsflash that explains how doctors do not perform abortions at this stage of a pregnancy for frivolous reasons; generally they do it when the fetus, the mother, or both are going to die otherwise.

So, what these MPs are saying with they're disgusting letter is that they want to subject women—you know, adult humans who have already suffered through the trauma of late-term abortions—and the doctors who perform said abortions to criminal charges.

What's the penalty for homicide in Canada? Oh right: life in prison.

Sadly, there is no penalty against farmers, engineers, and pastors who feel a woman's life is essentially worthless. 

Comments (18) Add New Comment
Three middle aged white guys trying to tell women what to do with their bodies. What year is it again?
Rating: +14
There are more children living in poverty now (due to Harper's governments policies) than in the last 50 years.... these Neo.Con. fools should get their thinking straight. Indifference to suffering of actual existing human children while meddling in the eternally-debatable rights of the "unborn" is hypocrisy of the most repugnant sort.
Rating: +8
Long live the Three Stooges!
Rating: +6
Three disgusting pieces of utter garbage.
Rating: +5
Your mother chose life.
Rating: -10
Mr Tea
I've never even heard of these guys before, are they stupid inflatable dolls filled with hot air?
Rating: +15
Hi Miranda,

I thought your article was very interesting. I am pro-life and this is a fascinating story to me because of the numerous perspectives it has raised on a widely discussed topic.

I was intrigued by two comments in your article in particular. One was about the idea that it didn't make sense that someone could kill a baby after an abortion. You're right, that doesn't make any sense. Instead, I think the issue raising concern for these MPs (and many others) is what happens to some babies when they are born alive, even though an abortion is attempted, intended but not completed successfully. Out of curiosity I looked it up, and it's fairly disturbing, at the least.

The second thing is about your comment regarding the valid reasons why a woman would have an abortion. Of course I'm not a woman and will never experience pregnancy or the birthing of a child. I'm not attempting to put myself in a woman's shoes or suggest that there's anything I could do to speak intelligently from that perspective. But I do find it interesting that in a world where we place so much emphasis on overcoming the odds, fighting for the underdog, helping those in need (look no further than the Oprah show!) that you would suggest that a valid reason for killing a child is because there's a high likelihood that it will die. In this case of abortion we have just made that high likelihood of death effectively 100%. There is also some medical testimony out of Ireland, following the tragic death of Savita Halappanavar and her baby, suggesting that abortion is never required to save the life of a mother (as opposed to the execution of a medical practice by which a baby may be unintentionally killed, which is different). Of course, I'm not sure that whole situation has been sorted out yet.

Anyways, thanks for your article!
Rating: -5
"But the old, outraged, paternalistic white dudes"....

Maybe I'm just too old, white and maternalistic to understand your bitter, sarcastic take on this, but in my view, the issue deserves better than you've offered. Kind of sad.
Rating: -15
N Marie
The decision to have an abortion is between the doctor and the woman. These three men aren't the doctor and they aren't the woman. This is not a decision a third PERSON has the right to stick their noses into. What disgusts me is that people like this alway assume the decision to abort is the "easy way out". Like any woman who does it is obviously being frivolous. It is pure and simple sexism.
Rating: +25
Ted G
Oh yes...Ximena Renaerts. One of those babies "going to die...but she didn't. She was left to die at a British Columbia hospital...a "complication" of a failed abortion. No wonder the Miranda Nelson's of the world don't want to talk about this. I believe the out of court settlement was almost 9 million dollars. Hospital staff left the baby to you still think these 491 babies were just blobs of tissue that no one has a right to talk about? Think again. This is what 25 years of "settled" abortion gets you.
Rating: +6
-- Instead, I think the issue raising concern for these MPs (and many others) is what happens to some babies when they are born alive, even though an abortion is attempted, intended but not completed successfully. Out of curiosity I looked it up, and it's fairly disturbing, at the least.

Did your research include the parents who find themselves aborting for medical reasons, but want a chance to see and hold their baby and let it pass away on its own? I've thankfully never been in that position, but there are many women out there who have been or currently are. A woman who elects to induce labour in the second trimester is having an abortion, her baby is being born live, and her baby likely dies after birth. It's heartbreaking, not homicidal.

-- But I do find it interesting that in a world where we place so much emphasis on overcoming the odds, fighting for the underdog, helping those in need (look no further than the Oprah show!) that you would suggest that a valid reason for killing a child is because there's a high likelihood that it will die.

What society places value on isn't what an individual will place value on. Carrying a dead fetus is very risky to maternal health -- putrefying tissue located within the body sure is a great pathway to sepsis. And, well, some women just don't want to be biological life support systems to a child that will be born into suffering. I'd hate to be in the position to have to make that choice, and I refuse to condemn those who are.
Rating: +12
You say, "For those playing at home, here's why a woman would have an abortion after 20 weeks:

The fetus is likely going to die
The woman carrying the fetus is likely going to die
All of the above"
I have one or two more troubling reasons to add:
Because the baby is a GIRL
Because the Daddy wants only a BOY
Because Grandma and Grandpa say GIRLS cost too much.

I digress. 491 babies were not aborted. Canada's law says they were Human beings, and persons under the law. Why is there no outrage over their deaths? The way I read your article the only determining factor to be considered with regards to ending a pregnancy either before or after is the degree of the child's wantedness by the mother. Using that citeria scares the heck out of me.
We can do better than nine months of open season on pre-born children.
Rating: +3
Miranda Nelson
JohnH, your other "reasons" for late-term abortions are incorrect, not to mention kind of racist and sexist.

Here are the facts.

While Canada may not have legal restrictions on abortion, this country DOES have MEDICAL restrictions. Restrictions that have been developed by MEDICAL PROFESSIONALS over the last 25 years.

(The following is from Demonizing Late-Term Abortion Must Stop)

"Fewer than one percent of abortions are carried out after 20 weeks' gestation. NO abortions are done after 24 weeks in Canada. There are very few doctors who will perform abortions past 20 weeks.

"The vast majority of these so-called late-term abortions are medically necessary because of catastrophic fetal anomaly or serious threat to the woman's life or health."

From Canadians for Choice:

"Many women who have an abortion after 20 weeks originally wanted to have a child, but chose to have an abortion after discovering that her foetus was severely or fatally impaired, or upon the discovery that her own health or life is endangered."

Women DO NOT have abortions at this stage of a pregnancy for specious reasons, and no responsible doctor would perform abortions at this stage of a pregnancy for the "reasons" you claim.

You are doing no one any favours by using such unscientific and emotional arguments to further your position.
Rating: +25
Djinni - excellent points!

Admittedly, I am not nearly as up to speed on the research behind abortion as I would like to be, but my comments were attempting to reflect some information that shows, using one specific example - reasons for abortion (12% - concerns about mother's health; 13% - concerns about fetal health; 78% - can't afford baby now).

Note: These are selected stats (very selected, for this discussion!) from the link below. The source, research sponsor, timing of study and other research parameters should absolutely be critiqued, as with any research information. It seems to be the type of study where you can pick multiple answers, so there definitely may be overlap in responses from unique respondents.

I just wanted to give some context behind my comment. And this is certainly not about finger-pointing people re the reasons for having an abortion, but I think it's certainly interesting in light of the medical discussion around abortion, albeit only from one source that I only skimmed quickly. And agreed, incredibly heartbreaking!

To your second paragraph, I am guilty as charged! Agreed, general societal values carry very little weight in this discussion. It was a personal observation that has no bearing on my argument. And maybe I misread the article (or your point!) but I wasn't under the impression that removing a dead fetus from a woman's body was in question. I thought I was responding to the suggestion that an abortion would be valid in the case of a fetus that was likely to die (it will probably die, so we'll abort it) - it was the reasoning that I was wondering about.

Part of my perspective also comes from seeing the incredible effort that was put into delivering one of my cousins who was born considerably premature with a serious heart complication that he was not supposed to survive. My understanding is that the MPs are questioning those situations where a baby who is not actually killed in a abortion procedure, almost 'accidently' born alive, and suggesting it deserves the same level of medical life-saving intervention, since according to the law/criminal code, it is a person. Instead what many people are suggesting is that the inherent value of the fetus that is not wanted (the one being aborted) disappears on the decision of the mother.

Rating: -7
Good posts by everyone who've reinforced the fact that late-term abortions are always and only done when deemed MEDICALLY NECESSARY by doctors.

And yes those parents grieve and hold funerals for those babies that cannot be born.

These three ideologues should have to face those parents whose wanted babies could not be born and tell them to their faces they should go to prison. Somehow I don't think they will - because they don't want us realizing the real, tragic truth of this so-called "crime".
Rating: +2
I don't know...

All I know is my child was born 6 months ago, and she died 4 hours later. We knew she would not have a long life and that she was sick. Even if the whole process was super sad, it was not for me to judge her or shorten her life because of the pain the whole ordeal would bring to me. My little girl was not really what was causing my deep pain, it was not her fault and aborting her to "take away my suffering" was tempting but ultimately a smokescreen.

And by the way Minerva, all the doctors I saw wanted to abort my girl, and it was NOT MEDICALLY NECESSARY. In fact she was fine inside of me! And yes, this was when I was well into my 3rd trimester. They just felt she was not worth the effort and time.

Sorry Minerva, maybe check with your sources. Imagine if someone got rid of you, because you caused them pain. What term are you in? Its a bit extreme is it not? :( Maybe the 3 white men are on to something... even if they are white men.

A life is a life, no matter how small. Dr. Seuss.
Rating: 0
I just read Miranda nelson's post...

Too bad you did not meet the doctors who wanted to abort my little girl. Perhaps you would recant your suppositions about no abortions past 24 weeks.

The doctors treating me and my baby, were ready to abort her in a heartbeat, scheduling the abortion 2 days after I received the news about my baby being ill. I wish you were right, but in Canada, a person only has rights when he or she passes fully through their mother's cervix. That is what is going on, and that is what medical professionals use as a measuring stick. Claiming otherwise is dangerous and misguiding others.

This is why some want to discuss things regarding the current state of the criminal code of Canada. If not, we are in good company regarding federal laws and the unborn... along side China and North Korea. Yay for conversation, tolerance, understanding and dialogue!
Rating: +3
Some of the commenters here are posting knee-jerk responses like "how dare they try to ban abortion". This makes me wonder if they even read the article. This has to do with whether babies who survive the fully legal abortion procedure should be considered medical waste.

A sketchy blog post is not sufficient evidence, I agree. But that is why the MPs are not asking to arrest 491 mothers or any other such nonsense. They are asking for an investigation because it's entirely possible that maybe 10 of the 491 fetuses could have lived a healthy life if they weren't denied food and water after the botched abortion.
Rating: -9
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