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0 - Protection of Conscience Project Library
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1975 abortion report more informative than its predecessors

JSB

Canadian Medical Association Journal, CMAJ
Canadian Medical Association Journal

Extract
Statistics Canada has just released its detailed report of abortion in Canada for 1975. The report carries much more information than its predecessors. There are, for example, new sections on teenage abortions, sterilizations concurrent with abortions and associated complications, comparisons with abortion rates in other selected countries and gestation weeks by selected demographic and medical characteristics.


JSB. 1975 abortion report more informative than its predecessors. Can Med Assoc J. 1977 Oct 22;117(8):933.

(Correspondence) Operation of the abortion law

OA Schmidt

Canadian Medical Association Journal, CMAJ
Canadian Medical Association Journal

Extract
[Author is president of Society of Obstetrics & Gynaecology Canada] To one who works in the field of therapeutic abortion, if not by choice, at least by necessity, the [Badgley] report makes fascinating reading and provides a wealth of information – a bonanza bargain at the cost. It is comparable to the 1974 Lane report from Great Britain. Chapter 2 of the report presents a most commendable summary of the therapeutic abortion situation in Canada. This is the underlying basis of the report from which the conclusions may be drawn for further recommendations with respect to therapeutic abortion. [Writer offers three recommendations for progress].


Schmidt OA. (Correspondence) Operation of the abortion law. Can Med Assoc J. 1977 Aug 06;117(3):214.

Analysis: An introduction to ethical concepts – Conscience

Eric D’Arcy

Journal of Medical Ethics
Journal of Medical Ethics

Extract
Many people believe in conscience that a pregnant woman has supreme rights over what happens in her own body. Others believe in conscience that the right of the unborn child to life is as good as that of any other human being. In some countries, the law, in the name of the former right, discriminates against an obstetrician who, in the name of the latter, refuses to destroy that life. This is a serious contemporary issue which tests the sincerity of governments that profess respect for conscience.


D’Arcy E. Analysis: An introduction to ethical concepts – Conscience. J Med Ethics. 1977;3(2):98-99.

The Badgley report on the abortion law

WDS Thomas

Canadian Medical Association Journal, CMAJ
Canadian Medical Association Journal

Extract
Within months [of legalization] physicians across Canada were beset by requests for therapeutic abortion in numbers they had never faced before. Some hospitals established abortion committees; others “did not. Some committees were liberal in their interpretation of the new law; others were restrictive. Soon facilities at many hospitals became overloaded owing to the increased demand for therapeutic abortion, and the waiting period for elective surgery grew longer. Hospital personnel were suddenly confronted with the prospect of caring for patients undergoing voluntary termination of pregnancy, and for some persons this was a difficult task, but they either accepted it or moved to other areas. . .


Thomas WDS. The Badgley report on the abortion law. Can Med Assoc J. 1977;116(9):966.

(Correspondence) Abortion – a positive experience?

Helen Cvejic, Irene Lipper, Robert A Kinch, Peter Benjamin

Canadian Medical Association Journal, CMAJ
Canadian Medical Association Journal

Extract
We agree with Mr. Matthews that these are valid concerns to consider as part of the abortion experience; they are being expressed by physicians, theologians and patients. Nevertheless, we, with our limited ability and knowledge, considered it our responsibility to study the effect of abortion on the patients in an adolescent clinic population.


Cvejic H, Lipper I, Kinch RA, Benjamin P. (Correspondence) Abortion – a positive experience?. Can Med Assoc J. 1977;116(8):836-837.

Doctors, torture and abuse of the doctor-patient relationship

Earl M Cooperman

Canadian Medical Association Journal, CMAJ
Canadian Medical Association Journal

Extract
The doctor-patient relationship is threatened. Once this association implied only one thing: the doctor above all must protect the patient. . . .

. . . it is not inconceivable that, as Canada moves towards socialized medicine and state control of all health facilities, we, too, may sacrifice the privacy of the doctor- patient relationship that we all once regarded as sacred.

. . . There is much concern regarding the
involvement of medical personnel in the use of torture for political purposes. . .

. . . When the Dutch medical community refused to cooperate with the Nazi medical organization, 100 Dutch physicians were sent to concentration camps. Other Dutch physicians did not give in; they took care of the widows and orphans of their colleagues. They did not participate in any Nazi activity; they acted unanimously.

. . . Recently physicians in Portugal studied “the scientific effects” of torture; they examined persons before, during and after torture sessions and evaluated their ability to undergo further torture.

. . .We must therefore each ask what is our duty to our state and what to our profession and to our own sense of moral justice. To what extent might we unwittingly become agents of repression? . . . Physicians in Russia condone beatings; if the prisoner dies the physician complies with government policy and eliminates possible repression by signing the death certificate “cirrhosis of the liver.. or “coronary occlusion.”. . .


Cooperman EM. Doctors, torture and abuse of the doctor-patient relationship. Can Med Assoc J. 1977 Apr 09;116(7):707, 709-710.

(Correspondence) Life devoid of value?

Heiko Baunemann

Canadian Medical Association Journal, CMAJ
Canadian Medical Association Journal

Extract
Dr. Rapp’s distinction between human beings and “potential” human beings is mystifying. . . The fetus is not a “potential” human being; it is a human being with potential. . . the impetus for the mass killing of mental patients came not from the Nazis but from members of the medical profession. . . . the connection between abortion and euthanasia . . . is quite clear to other proabortionists [including] Joseph Fletcher, a member of the Euthanasia Education Council, and the late Dr. Alan Guttmacher, also a member of that council. . . Abortion and euthanasia are related by a common set of basic assumptions – that human life is not an absolute but rather a variable value that is socially determinable, and that it may be terminated. One form of euthanasia makes this particularly clear – the killing of the handicapped newborn. Arguments for abortion of mongoloid fetuses and mercy killing of mongoloid newborns are identical. . . .


Baunemann H. (Correspondence) Life devoid of value?. Can Med Assoc J. 1977;116(6):591-592.

(News) Inequities in abortion law found result of attitudes in people and institutions

JS Bennett

Canadian Medical Association Journal, CMAJ
Canadian Medical Association Journal

Extract
[Outline of the findings of the Badgley Committee studying the operation of the abortion law.] A trend seen since 1970 is the reduction in the number of “back street abortions” and the sharp decrease in morbidity and mortality stemming from such procedures. Perhaps the most telling sentence in the 474-page report is this: “The procedure in the Criminal Code for obtaining abortion is in practice illusory for many Canadian women.


Bennett JS. Inequities in abortion law found result of attitudes in people and institutions. Can Med Assoc J. 1977;116(5):553-554.

(Correspondence) The Canadian abortion law

May Cohen, Wendell Watters, Linda Rapson

Canadian Medical Association Journal, CMAJ
Canadian Medical Association Journal

Extract
. . . risks are relative. A woman exposed to childbirth is at greater risk than a woman having an induced abortion . . . Blame for cervical lacerations sustained in the course of an induced abortion should be laid on the surgeon, not on the procedure. . . . .We are impressed by improvements in maternal and infant health reported in areas where safe legal abortions are relatively easy to obtain: mortality and morbidity from septic illegal abortion all but disappear and neonatal mortality plummets. . . While the state did not force her to have heterosexual intercourse, it is clearly intending her to remain pregnant against her will by making it impossible to interrupt a pregnancy she has tried to avoid. It is our view that abortion should be at the bottom of a list of options available to an unwillingly pregnant woman. . . . there needs to be a consensus among gynecologists as to the point during gestation when abortion is no longer an option. . . abortion is a nasty business. The answer to its elimination surely lies in . . . adequate sex education in our schools, and training programs in human sexuality and reproductive regulation in the curricula of our health care educational institutions.


Cohen M, Watters W, Rapson L. (Correspondence) The Canadian abortion law. Can. Med Assoc J. 1977 Feb 05;116(3):247, 250.

(Correspondence) The Canadian abortion law

PG Coffey

Canadian Medical Association Journal, CMAJ
Canadian Medical Association Journal

Extract
Dr. Loveridge states that the examples I quoted in my previous letter “are just not correct”. On the contrary, all the facts and figures I have given are correct and come from respectable sources [Gives details] . . .The reason that illegal abortions are not necessarily reduced in number and that the total number of abortions in- creases when a government legalizes abortion (and seemingly condones it) is that there are always a large number of women who prefer to have an abortion privately and a climate of abortion is created wherein large numbers of women consider abortion who would not otherwise have done so.


Coffey PG. (Correspondence) The Canadian abortion law. Can Med Assoc J. 1977 Feb 05;116(3):238.