Canadian women travel to the United States every year for “medically necessary” abortions paid for by their provincial governments, but amid the COVID-19 pandemic, the number of Canadian women coming to the United States for an abortion has been cut in half.
According to data from the Ontario government, between March 15, 2020, and April 31, 2021, Ontario’s out-of-country medical program approved applications for 11 women to receive “medically necessary” abortions in the United States. This number marks a significant drop compared to annual numbers for each of the previous five years.
It is unclear from the data whether the pandemic caused the drop, but the numbers shared by Global News show consistency across a five-year period until the pandemic hit: 33 women in 2014-2015, 26 women in 2015-2016, 20 women in 2016-2017, 25 women in 2017-2018, and 26 women in 2018-2019. Ontario is the only Canadian province that maintains detailed data on out-of-country “medically necessary” abortions. Quebec, Manitoba, Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, and Newfoundland do not track that data, but Ontario’s numbers suggest an overall decline across the nation.
It is a common misconception that abortion can be medically necessary to save the life of the mother or in cases of a poor prenatal diagnosis for the preborn baby. Even in the most high-risk pregnancies, there is no medical reason why the life of a preborn child must be directly and intentionally ended with an abortion.
Pro-life doctors have made clear the distinction between abortion and providing a pregnant mother with medical treatments that could tragically result in the loss of the baby. For example, chemotherapy could result in miscarriage, but the intention behind administering the treatment is the health of the mother and not the death of the child. Likewise, with an ectopic pregnancy, the surgical procedure of removing the Fallopian tube and preborn child is carried out to save the mother who could die without intervention; the baby is not intentionally killed.
In addition, most life-threatening pregnancy complications don’t occur until late in the pregnancy, and babies born as young as 21 weeks have a small chance of surviving outside the womb with proper medical care. Inducing preterm labor to save a woman’s life is not an abortion. Throughout a pregnancy, numerous complications can arise, from placenta previa to pre-eclampsia and gestational diabetes, among many others, and none need to be “treated” with abortion.
According to Global News, Ontario does not collect data on the reasons why women are pursuing these “medically necessary” abortions; however, the numbers typically represent cases in which a late-term abortion is claimed to be needed “due to a serious medical situation for the mother or fetus.”
In cases of poor prenatal diagnosis, intentionally killing the child through abortion is an act of eugenics, not compassion. Parents who abort for a prenatal diagnosis suffer along with their babies. A study from Duke University found that women who abort after a prenatal diagnosis deemed “incompatible with life” report “significantly more despair, avoidance, and depression than women who continued the pregnancy.” The same study showed that women who carry their babies to term report being emotionally prepared for their child’s death and having a sense of gratitude and peace surrounding their child’s life.
Even though fewer women are traveling to undergo abortions in the midst of the pandemic, the false narrative that abortion is healthcare and that it can be medically necessary continues to be propagated by Canadian and American pro-abortion groups, putting women’s health in jeopardy and resulting in the tragic loss of life of preborn children.
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