Abortion

What is abortion?

Abortion is the termination of a pregnancy.

Induced abortion is the active removal of the human embryo before the stage of viability, or 20 weeks' gestation.

 Abortion refers to the deliberate killing of an unborn child in order to end a pregnancy.

It differs, for example, from a miscarriage, which is a sad event in which the unborn child is lost due to natural causes.
 In Canada, there is no protection for the unborn child at any stage of development during all nine months of pregnancy.

Therefore, abortion may be performed at any time during the pregnancy for any reason, or for no reason at all. Once a child is fully born, it then becomes a "person" with full rights and privileges as protected by law. Girls may seek an abortion at any age as no parental consent is needed for minors.


Abortion Methods

There are many methods of abortion used in Canada. The method used depends mainly on the stage of the pregnancy and the size of the developing fetus. Other factors considered include the status of the woman's health, personal preference, and where the abortion will occur. Included in the following section are the methods reportedly used in Canada in 2004, the latest year for which statistics have been released.

*Embryo refers to the developing human from the second to eighth week of development. All major organ systems develop during this stage and are present in the embryo at eight weeks. †Fetus refers to the developing human from approximately 60 days up to birth. During the fetal phase, the organ systems become more mature, and the fetus grows from approximately 3cm and 2.5g at 60 days to 50 cm and 3300g at term. 

*Information taken from Abortion in Canada.

Suction Abortion:

Also called vacuum aspiration, this is the most common abortion technique in use today. In this procedure, a suction tube is inserted through the dilated cervix into the womb. A powerful vacuum tears the placenta from the uterus and dismembers the body of the developing child, sucking the pieces into an attached container. There is a risk that the uterus can be punctured during the procedure. Also, the abortionist must take care that all the body parts are removed from the womb, as infection and hemorrhage can occur if fetal or placental tissue is left in the uterus.

Dilation and Curettage Abortion (D & C):

This method is similar to the suction method with the added insertion of a hook shaped knife (curette) which cuts the baby into pieces. The pieces are scraped out through the cervix and discarded [Note: This abortion method should not be confused with a therapeutic D&C done for reasons other than pregnancy.

Dilation and Evacuation Abortion (D & E):

This method is similar to a D&C abortion, except that forceps must be used to grasp the baby's body because of the child's advanced development. The baby is dismembered as the abortionist twists and tears the parts of the body and slices the placenta away from the uterus. This is performed at between 12 and 18 weeks (3 and 4.5 months). Body parts must be re-assembled and accounted for to ensure the uterus is empty, otherwise, the mother may bleed and become infected.

Partial Birth Abortion (D & X):

After three days of dilating the cervix, the doctor reaches up the birth canal, grasps a leg and pulls it down and out, then the other leg, body, shoulders and arms. The head is too large to extract so scissors are inserted into the base of the living baby's skull and spread apart. A suction tube is inserted into the skull and the brains are suctioned out. This kills the baby, collapses the head and the child is removed. Finally, the afterbirth is removed.

Hysterotomy

Abortion Similar to a Cesarean section, the hysterectomy abortion is a surgical procedure whereby the baby is removed from the mother's womb and allowed to die by neglect or killed by a direct act. This method offers the highest risk to the mother and produces the most number of live births. Hysterectomy is used only for late-term pregnancies, and is sometimes used if the salt poisoning prostaglandin, or in abortion has failed. 

Saline Abortion

This method, also known as "salting out", is done after 16 weeks (4 months) when enough fluid has accumulated in the baby's amniotic sac. A long needle is inserted through the mother's abdomen into the baby's sac and a solution of concentrated salt is injected into it. The baby breathes in and swallows the salt and is poisoned by it. The outer layer of its skin is burned off by the corrosive saline as it's lungs are burnt on the inside. It takes over an hour to kill a baby by this method. The mother will then go into labor about 24 hours after and deliver the dead baby. Saline injections have been outlawed in some countries because of the risks to the mother, which can include lung and kidney damage if the salt finds its way into her bloodstream. In spite of the horrible burning effect, some babies have survived "salting out" and been born alive.

RU-486

Mifepristone and Misoprostol

Mifepristone, also known as RU-486 or the 'abortion pill', used together with misoprostol is the most commonly used medical abortion combination worldwide. Mifepristone causes abortion by blocking the action of progesterone. Progesterone prepares the uterine lining for implantation and is essential for maintenance of the pregnancy. Progesterone also suppresses uterine contractions. Mifepristone causes the uterine lining to break down, resulting in detachment of the embryo from its source of nutrition. It causes the cervix to soften and dilate. It also makes the body release prostaglandins and increases the effects of these prostaglandins in causing the uterus to contract. Serious infection and heavy, prolonged bleeding are the most notable side effects, along with nausea, vomiting, diarrhea and headache. *Information taken from  Abortion in Canada.

How Does it Work? The emergency contraceptive/morning-after pill has three modes of action (as does the regular birth control pill); that is, it can work in one of three ways: The normal menstrual cycle is altered, delaying ovulation; or Ovulation is inhibited, meaning the egg will not be released from the ovary; It can irritate the lining of the uterus (endometrium) so as to inhibit implantation. Keep in mind that fertilization (the union of female ovum, or egg, and male sperm) occurs in the Fallopian tube and that fertilization marks the beginning of a new human life - and the beginning of the pregnancy. The newly created child then travels down the Fallopian tube to the uterus (womb) where he or she implants. Implantation is necessary for the new child to receive nourishment from the mother and continue developing. The journey from the Fallopian tube to the womb takes between five and seven days during which pregnancy cannot be readily detected. Therefore, if a woman ingests emergency contraception after fertilization has taken place, the third mode of action can occur. The lining of the uterus can be altered causing the woman's body to reject the living human embryo, making implantation impossible and the child will die. This result is called a chemical abortion; therefore emergency contraception is an antiabortion.

IUD (Intrauterine Device):

What is an Intrauterine Device? The intrauterine device is a foreign body made of a non-reactive plastic such as polyethylene, inserted into the uterus to prevent implantation of the developing human being. Some IUD's include active chemicals, such as progesterone or copper, which slowly diffuse into the uterus for an enhanced antiabortion effect.

How Do IUD's Work?

The different IUD's have different modes of action. They prevent sperm from fertilizing ova, release ions (primarily copper) that interfere with fertilization, thicken the cervical mucus, and inhibit sperm capabilities. These are all contraceptive effects. But IUD's also irritate the endometrium (the lining of the uterus) and make it inhospitable to the blastocyst (the very early developing human being), an abortifacient effect.