Health Canada released first annual euthanasia (medical assistance in dying) report

The first annual report of statistical information concerning euthanasia (MAID) was released in July by Health Canada.  Its data comes from Canada’s federal monitoring and reporting regime which came into effect in November 2018. Previously, the department had compiled and released four interim reports.

This latest report does not address possible abuses of the law. The independent report from Quebec’s Commission sur les soins de fin de vie dated September 2019 found that at least 13 euthanasia deaths in the province did not meet all legal requirements.

Health Canada says that “with respect to oversight, some jurisdictions such as, Manitoba, Saskatchewan, Alberta, and British Columbia have implemented review committees to ensure MAID is being provided in accordance with federal and provincial rules. In Ontario, all MAID deaths are reported to the Chief Coroner’s office who is also responsible for oversight.”

It would be interesting to know if the review committee in British Columbia looked into the case of Alan Nichols who died by euthanasia at Chilliwack General Hospital in July 2019. His family members were stunned that Alan was approved for euthanasia. Mr. Nichols had a history of chronic depression but was not sick or dying. His brother and sister were unsuccessful in their efforts to stop his death by euthanasia. 

Health Canada calls attention to media reports concerning faith based institutions and palliative care centres who refuse to allow euthanasia assessments or its provision in their facilities. We are told that “This has resulted in patients being required to transfer to another facility if they wish to receive the procedure.”  Yet, transfers to another facility for surgeries, or procedures are routine matters in health care.  Why is it that media reports concerning the coercion of hospices are not mentioned? The Ministry of Health for British Columbia is threatening to pull funding from the Delta Hospice Society because it will not allow euthanasia to take place on its centre’s premises.  The Delta  Hospice Society continues its legal battle. According to a January 2020 North Bay Nugget report, the Serenity hospice in North Bay was  being coerced by four local physicians who want the hospice to offer euthanasia on site. Health Canada also fails to mention media reports regarding cases of patients with disabilities who experienced pressure in the direction of euthanasia, Roger Foley and Candice Lewis for example.

Health Canada does provide however accounts from practitioners of their patients’ death by euthanasia: “Patient who passed away in her garden, sitting in her favourite chair, surrounded by friends and family. Balloons were released before her death (to help guide her on her journey…)She reportedly told her daughter that she would not have been able to manage another week.” 

The information provided in Health Canada’s latest report consists of data collected from physicians, nurse practitioners and pharmacists. We know only what the practitioner causing the death, reports to the designated provincial or territorial body or directly to Health Canada.

5,631 ‘assisted deaths’ were reported for 2019. The overwhelming majority were euthanasia cases done by lethal injection by a practitioner.  There were fewer than 7 cases of assisted suicide where the individual self administers the lethal dose. The total number of euthanasia (MAID) deaths reported since the passage of the federal law in June 2016 until the end of December 2019 is 13,946. The 2019 numbers represent a 26.1% increase over 2018 numbers. 

Euthanasia (MAID) deaths represent 2% of all deaths in Canada in 2019. In British Columbia, euthanasia deaths are 3.3% of all deaths and in Quebec, 2.4% of all deaths.

Those who are 56 years of age and older account for 93.4% of euthanasia deaths. 

The report tells us that there were 1,271 “unique practitioners” providing euthanasia in 2019. 1,196 are physicians and 75 are nurse practitioners. Family physicians make up 65% of those willing to give lethal injections, palliative care medicine specialists (9.1%), anesthesiologists (5%) and psychiatrists (1.2%). 

  • 617 practitioners (48.5%) provided one euthanasia procedure.
  • 528 practitioners (41.5%) provided the procedure 2 to 9 times.
  • 126 practitioners (9.9%) provided the procedure more than 10 times during the year.

According to practitioners, loss of autonomy was the primary reason given as cause of suffering by patients.

Loss of ability to engage in meaningful life activities: 82.1%

Loss of ability to perform activities of daily living; 78.1%

Inadequate control of symptoms other than pain ( or concern about it): 56.4%

Inadequate control of pain or concern about it: 53.9%

Loss of dignity: 53.3%

Perceived burden on family, friends or caregivers: 34.0%

Loss of control of bodily functions: 31.9%

Isolation or loneliness: 13.7%

7,336 written requests were reported in 2019.   Of these, 5,389 (73% ) resulted in euthanasia.

For 1,947 requests, euthanasia was not administered for the following reasons: in 1,113 cases the patients died before receiving a lethal injection. In 571 cases, the patients were considered ineligible. In 263 cases, the patients withdrew their requests.

For the 7.8% determined to be ineligible for euthanasia, the reasons given were:

  • A lack of capacity to make medical decisions: 32.2% of cases. 
  • The person’s natural death was not reasonably foreseeable: 27.8% of cases
  • The person was not considered to be in a state of irreversible decline in capacity: 23.5% of cases.

A physician or nurse practitioner must report all written requests for euthanasia. As well, they must report the age, sex, postal code, assessment of the request, eligibility of the person and whether two practitioners approved the eligibility and whether there was a 10 day reflection period between the time of the request and the actual procedure being done.

In 65.7% of cases, the 10 day requirement was met. In 34.3% of cases, the 10 day  reflection period was shortened with 84.4% of practitioners giving “imminent loss of the patient’s capacity to consent as the primary reason, with imminent death cited in 45.4% of these cases.”

For all patients receiving euthanasia, the practitioner must report if the patient received palliative care and or disability supports services if these were needed.

Cancer was the medical condition most associated with euthanasia at 67.2% of cases.

Respiratory conditions accounted for 10.8% of euthanasia deaths. Neurological  conditions followed at 10.4% of cases and cardiovascular at 10.1% of cases.  At 6.1% of cases, a category called Other Condition is described as including “a range of conditions, with frailty commonly cited.”

Administration of euthanasia occurred  primarily in hospital or at home.  36.3 % in hospital (excluding palliative care beds) and in the patient’s private residence(35.2%). 20.6% took place in a palliative care unit. 6.9% occurred in a residential care setting.

Health Canada states that “It should be noted that there is nothing in the federal MAID legislation that compels a practitioner to provide or assist in providing MAID.” We would point out that there is nothing in the federal legislation that provides specific conscience rights protection for physicians, nurses and other health practitioners. In fact, a p0licy of the Ontario College of Physicians and Surgeons, explicitly requires physicians to make referrals for euthanasia in spite of their conscientious objection to the practice. These health professionals continue to ask for legislation to provide specific protection rights.





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Canada’s health care savings is attributed to euthanasia

Tuesday, October 20, 2020

by Alex Schadenberg

Executive Director, Euthanasia Prevention Coalition

Soon after Canada legalized euthanasia, the Canadian Medical Association Journal (CMAJ) published a study by Aaron J. Trachtenberg MD DPhil, and Braden Manns MD MSc titled: Cost analysis of medical assistance in dying,

The researchers suggested that the Canadian healthcare system will save between 34.7 and 138.8 million dollars per year, depending on the number of euthanasia deaths. Canada has a universal healthcare system, whereby the financial cost of healthcare is primarily covered by the government.

At the time I stated that the social pressure to save money will become the ultimate form of social responsibility. People will be socially pressured to die.
“How dare you choose to live. You are costing society money.”
Today, Katie Dangerfield reported for Global News that:
Since Canada’s law on medical assistance in dying came into effect more than four years ago, health-care costs have dropped millions of dollars, according to a Parliamentary Budget Officer (PBO) report released Tuesday.

The report on assisted dying said since becoming legal on June 17, 2016, Canada’s health-care costs have dropped $86.9 million.
The Parliamentary Budget Officer also projected that Bill C-7, the bill to expand Canada’s euthanasia law, will lead to more euthanasia deaths per year and more healthcare savings. Dangerfield reported:
The budget office estimates the legislation would mean an additional 1,164 medically assisted deaths in Canada in 2021, on top of the 6,465 deaths expected under the current regime.

Provincial health budgets would see a savings of $149 million next year if the numbers hold true, largely from declines in spending on end-of-life care.
Sadly, some people will point to the cost savings as a positive reason to promote euthanasia. 


It appears that euthanasia is not about “choice” or “autonomy” but rather killing people at the most vulnerable time of life.

There has now been approximately 19,000 euthanasia deaths in Canada.

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Did Nobel laureate Robert Edwards get his gong for enabling eugenics?


If the “cancel culture” is gunning for eugenicists, there are more than enough candidates. One of the most prominent is Robert Edwards, who won the Nobel Prize for Medicine in 2010 for developing in vitro fertilisation.

As Gina Maranto, a writer for the Biopolitical Times, reminds readers, he was a dyed-in-the-wool eugenicist:

Edwards was a long-time member and trustee of the UK’s Eugenics Society and then, under its new name, the Galton Society, as Osagie Obasogie detailed in Scientific American in 2013. In a December 1970 article in the same publication, Edwards and [Ruth] Fowler [his wife] foresaw and embraced the possibility that IVF would enable the selection of embryos according to their genetic characteristics, including “choosing male or female blastocysts.”

They also envisioned other manipulations of embryos, writing that while such experiments would present “challenges to a number of established social and ethical concepts,” they would bring great rewards. Edwards implicitly acknowledged the eugenical implications of his work in 1999 when he said, “Soon it will be a sin of parents to have a child that carries the heavy burden of genetic disease. We are entering a world where we have to consider the quality of our children.” 

Edwards was not just concerned with avoiding grave disability. Eugenics was for him an opportunity to raise the skill level in our society: “any [scientific] method of potential value in raising human standards should be considered, and [human reproductive] cloning might contribute towards this end by providing pools of talent”, he said in 1974.

In 2003 he told London’s Times: “[IVF] was a fantastic achievement, but it was about more than infertility. It was also about issues like stem cells and the ethics of human conception. I wanted to find out exactly who was in charge, whether it was God himself or whether it was scientists in the laboratory.” And what he discovered was that “it was us”.

The arrogance of this boast suggests that Edwards was not just aware of the eugenicist possibility of IVF; for him this was its ultimate purpose. Fortunately for his memory, no one has erected a statue of him. 

Michael Cook is editor of BioEdge 

First published at Bioedge:

Reposted with permission.

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Alert from a growing number of physicians


For Immediate Release

Alert from a growing number of Canadian physicians

“We are being bullied to participate in Medical Assistance in Dying”

Montréal, March 9, 2020 – The Physicians’ Alliance against Euthanasia has received reports that unwilling physicians are being pressured and bullied to participate in Medical Assistance in Dying (MAID): euphemism for euthanasia and assisted suicide.  Fearing reprisals, physicians have asked that no information that could identify them be disclosed.

The pressure has been intense for many physicians, especially amongst palliative specialists, some leaving even before this latest development. Descriptions were made of toxic practice environments and fear of discipline by medical regulators.

“The anxiety, fear, and sadness surrounding my work bled into my family life, and I ultimately felt that I could not manage practicing palliative care
 at this stage of my life.”
(Former palliative care physician, March 2020)

In different locations across Canada over the last months to weeks there has been a change in certain hospital MAID policies. The change seems intended to provoke crisis or confrontation: to force objecting physicians to facilitate MAID, or to have to refuse — and face contrived allegations of “obstructing access.”  Reports consistently focus on the MAID providers refusing to accept full responsibility for the death of the patient and forcing other physicians to share responsibility for the death. If the physician asks to withdraw from care and allow the MAID provider to take over as before, the MAID provider resists assuming the natural pattern of care.

The reports we are hearing from distressed physicians describe deliberate disruption of arrangements that were previously working satisfactorily and that had permitted patients to have access to MAID while still allowing for conscience objectors to not be involved in facilitating the patient’s death. This bullying and betrayal of collegial relationships can poison practice environments and compromise patient care. Such behavior should not be tolerated by health care administrators in Canada.

Canadian physicians having similar stories of bullying are encouraged to contact the Physicians’ Alliance by email:

Charmine Francis


Canadian Medical Protective Association: Most Responsible Physician: A key link in the coordination of care. 

Lauren Vogel.  Culture of bullying in medicine starts at the top. 
Canadian Medical Association Journal (December, 2018

Camille Bains.  Systemic change needed to address suicide among physicians in Canada, doctors say. 
CBC News/Canadian Press (May, 2019)

Gabrielle Horne.  Physician, heal thyself: the potential crisis of conscience in Canadian medicine.  What if your faith in doctors having conscience was shaken? 
Globe and Mail (May, 2019

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Witnesses to abortion reveal its horrors



By Sarah Terzo

Sometimes authors of magazines are allowed to witness abortions in the course of writing articles. Sometimes medical students who never had an opinion on abortion come to grips with the procedure after viewing one. People who observe abortion procedures or abortion remains usually come away with little doubt that abortion is killing a human being.

Author Verlyn Klinkenborg of Harper’s Magazine visited an abortion clinic for a 1995 article. After viewing the remains of an abortion at ten weeks, he wrote the following (1):

I felt a profound and unmistakable kinship with the foot and hand in the tray, a kinship so strong it was like the rolling of the sea under my feet[.] … I was surprised by my own sadness, by the sense of loss that I felt[.] … I found it so much easier to be moved by the sight of the disembodied hand the size of a question mark gleaming under fluorescent lights. … In that tiny, naked hand there was the imputation of innocence.

Author Sue Hertz spent a year observing in a busy abortion clinic. She saw the remains of several abortions (2):

It was easy to shrug off an aborted pregnancy as nothing more than a sack of blood and globs of tissue – as many pro-choice activists did- if one never saw fetal remains, or products of conception (POC) as they were known in medical circles. But the nurses, medical assistants, and doctors who worked inside procedure rooms … knew that an eleven-week-old POC harbored tiny arms and legs and feet with toes. At twelve weeks, those tiny hands had tiny nails. Although the fetal head was too small at this stage to withstand the evacuation machine’s suction, pieces of face- a nose and mouth, or a black eye…were sometimes found in the aftermath[.] … Later abortions spawned even more gruesome fetal remains … the head did not come out whole during the evacuation, but the legs and arms and rib cage made it through intact. The hand of a second trimester fetus, as a Preterm doctor described it, seemed big enough to shake.

A writer from the Wisconsin State Journal shadowed an abortionist as he performed abortions in his clinic. He says (3):

Christensen performed two abortions that day on women who were at the end of the first trimester. In each case, the tissue was suctioned into a large glass jar, filling the bottom half inch.

Christensen later poured it into a straining basin and examined it “to make sure we removed all of it.”

At one point, he picked up a tiny foot and placed it against a ruler. “Thirteen millimeters,” he announced, “which is consistent with 12 weeks of actual pregnancy.”

Later he held a tiny head. Its brain tissue will be sent to the National Institutes of Health for research on brain tumors.

Peter Korn, who wrote a book about the ironically named abortion clinic “Lovejoy,” describes an abortion this way (4):

Still holding the forceps, Lane [the doctor] begins pulling, tearing apart the fetus. His first three tugs yield indistinguishable tissue. The fourth brings out a more solid mass. … Tiny hands and feet, extracted next, are the most recognizable. The head is less so. The pieces of the fetus and the placenta are placed by Lane on a surgical tray at his side.

Pro-choice author Magda Denes witnessed abortions while writing her book In Necessity and Sorrow: Life and Death Inside an Abortion Hospital. She was disturbed by seeing the intact body of a baby aborted in the second trimester (5):

I remove with one hand the lid of a bucket … I look inside the bucket in front of me. There is a small naked person there floating in a bloody liquid- plainly the tragic victim of a drowning accident. But then perhaps this was no accident, because the body is purple with bruises and the face has the agonized tautness of one forced to die too soon. Death overtakes me in a rush of madness … I have seen this before. The face of a Russian soldier, lying on a frozen snow covered hill, stiff with death and cold. … A death factory is the same anywhere, and the agony of early death is the same anywhere.

B.D. Colen, a reporter for Newsday, witnessed a second-trimester D&E abortion (5). A D&E is the standard second-trimester abortion and is performed over 300 times a day:

After dilating, or opening, the cervix, the physician used a curette, the gynecological version of a sharpened spoon, to cut the fetus into pieces he would then remove with forceps. A large petri dish sat on an instrument stand to the right of the girl’s feet, and most of the red material in the dish was unrecognizable. But from time to time during the procedure the physician would tap his forceps on the edge of the dish – and into the muck would drop a foot, or a hand, or a piece of rib cage[.]

Having seen what I saw, I cannot for a moment abide the disingenuousness of those who argue that a fetus is not human, or those who convince themselves that abortion is not killing[.]

An author from Salon Magazine describes two abortions. One was a D&E, the other a partial birth abortion, a procedure that is now illegal due to the efforts of pro-lifers. He says of the D&E (6):

Time after time, the resident plunged the Bierer [forceps] into the woman’s womb, removing a leg, then an arm, then the liver, then the placenta, which the doctor ranted about, because this can make the fetal head extraction more difficult. The last step that I saw was the collapse of the skull and the removal of the brain matter.

A former medical student writes the following (11 weeks, so a dilatation and suction) (7):

The doctor continued talking in his disinterested monotone, and I watched as the contents of the woman’s womb came through a suctioning device and into a stainless-steel pail sitting at his feet. I stepped back and wiped the perspiration from my brow. “This is kind of gruesome,” I said. “Was there some special reason she didn’t want to have her baby?”

“She wanted an abortion,” the nurse replied, “and we’re required by law to do what she wants.”

The doctor had been listening to our conversation. As he stood up, he said, “At this point in the pregnancy, the products of conception aren’t much.” I knew the emphasis on “products of conception” was for my benefit.

Is that what you have in that pail? I thought. Does that make it easier for you? I did not have the courage to put into words what I was thinking. I’ve always regretted that.

I stepped forward and peered into the pail. This time I broke out in a cold sweat. Dear Jesus! I thought. I just saw someone murdered! And I just stood and watched! Why did I come down here? How will I ever put this out of my mind?

“Are you OK?” the voice of the nurse brought me back.

“I’m sorry,” I smiled weakly. “I just never realized what it was like.

Do you assist with these all the time?”

“More than I care to admit,” the nurse said. “Actually, I can handle one, but when they start to come back for the second or third time, it really gets to me.”

As I left the operating room, I shook my head in an attempt to get the horrible vision out of my head. I couldn’t. It was there; it would always be there: a little hand…a little rib cage.

The author goes on to describe nightmares he had about the abortion. Now he is a pro-life activist.

These men and women have witnessed the horror of abortion firsthand, and none of them emerged from the experience the same.

Some, like the medical student, became pro-life. Others, like Magda Denes, were able to rationalize their experience and remain pro-choice – but they would always understand the reality behind the rhetoric.

The vast majority of us have never seen an abortion – but we can gain wisdom from those who have. Abortion is a terrible, violent procedure that kills a baby. No amount of sugar-coating can banish that reality. Those of us in the pro-life movement must continue on, knowing we are fighting a battle against the most important human rights injustice of our time.

  1. “Violent Certainties” Harper’s Magazine January 1995 p 47
  2. Sue Hertz Caught in the Crossfire: A Year on Abortion’s Front Line (New York: Prentice Hill Press, 1991) p 104
  3. “Women Need Control over Birth Choice, Physician Says” Wisconsin State Journal. March 4, 2001. Quoted by Life Dynamics.
  4. Peter Korn Lovejoy: A Year in the Life of an Abortion Clinic (New York: Atlantic Monthly Press, 1996) pgs 235-236
  5. B.D. Colen “A High, But Necessary, Toll” Newsday May 12, 1992
  6. Margaret A. Woodbury, “A Doctor’s Right to Choose” Salon Magazine July 24, 2002
  7. Don Haines “The Day I Became Pro-Life” Oct. 30, 2002

Editor’s note. Sarah Terzo is a pro-life Liberal who runs, a web site devoted to exposing the abortion industry.

Reposted with permission.

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Canadian Psychiatrists: It’s okay to euthanize mentally ill patients Wesley Smith Mar 17, 2020 | 6:58PM Ottawa, Canada

Dedicated psychiatrists are often the only defense between patients with serious mental illness and suicide. But legalizing euthanasia shifts thinking 180 degrees because suicide has been redefined as health care and a right. Hence, protections — such as barring administered death to the mentally ill — soon come to be seen as obstacles.

That has happened in Canada, where the government is erasing its weak provision that death must be “reasonably foreseeable” requirement to qualify for killing. Once that provision is repealed, psychiatric conditions diagnosed “irremediable” could qualify for death. Tor read more https:

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Delta BC hospice continues legal battle to prevent euthanasia

Alex Schadenberg
Executive Director, Euthanasia Prevention Coalition

In February 2018 the Board of the BC Delta Hospice Society was given an edict from Fraser Health to provide euthanasia (MAID). At that time, the board of the Delta Hospice did not comply with the edict and continued its good work.

In December 2019, the Delta Hospice was then ordered to do euthanasia or lose its government funding.

In February 2020, Adrian Dix, BC Minister of Health, gave notice that funding for the Delta Hospice would cease in February 2021 unless the Delta Hospice permitted euthanasia.
The Canadian Hospice Palliative Care Association and the Canadian Society of Palliative Care Physicians have stated that: Euthanasia is not consistent with the philosophy, intent or approach of hospice palliative care.

Yesterday, the Epoch Times published an article by Lee Harding concerning the current plight of the Delta Hospice Society. Harding interviewed Angelina Ireland, the chair of the Delta Hospice Society (DHS) board who stated:

The B.C. government mandated that all hospices without a religious affiliation must provide medical assistance in dying (MAID) on-site if more than half of their funding comes from taxpayers.

The DHS, which governs the privately operated Irene Thomas Hospice in Delta, is not affiliated with any religion but is opposed to physician-assisted suicide on moral and philosophical grounds. It offered to forfeit $750,000 in annual public funding in order to continue operations without providing MAID on-site.

However, its offer was rejected by the provincial government and the Fraser Health Authority, which has jurisdiction over publicly funded health care in the region where the hospice is located. Instead, they said funding would continue until Feb. 25, 2021, after which the hospice would lose its licence and be unable to continue operations.
The Delta Hospice

The euthanasia lobby got involved by working with local activists to sell DHS memberships to people who support euthanasia. This group was also able to obtain an injunction to prevent the DHS from having a meeting to amend their statutes to recognize the Christian beliefs of the DHS founders and its board. The BC government does not force religious institutions to participate in euthanasia.

Harding reported that on June 12, Justice Sheila Fitzpatrick ordered DHS to accept all membership applications, even though the DHS is a private institution. Harding explains:

Lawyers for DHS argued before the B.C. Court of Appeal that the hospice was a private institution, not a public one, and that if B.C.’s Societies Act permitted such an order, it would violate the Charter freedoms of association and conscience.

On Aug. 17, the court announced it would allow the appeal, but no date has been set for hearings.

The legal question concerning a private institution being required to accept all memberships goes beyond the issue of the DHS itself and is a concern for many private institutions.

Harding interviewed Alex Muir, the co-chair of the Vancouver chapter of Dying With Dignity, a euthanasia lobby group, that indicated that euthanasia access at the Delta Hospice is important. Harding reports:

“Faith-based organizations are allowed to exempt themselves from providing medical assistance in dying if it’s against their beliefs. We don’t believe that should be allowed when they are publicly funded, and we don’t believe the government should be using taxpayer dollars to allow that to happen,” Muir said.

Dying With Dignity has launched a petition signed by over 1,500 people that calls on the province to end the MAID exemption given to publicly funded faith-based facilities. The Euthanasia Prevention Coalition has launched its own petition against forcing hospices to perform euthanasia, which has been signed by over 27,000 people.
Angelina Ireland

Harding reports that the DHS upholds that euthanasia (MAID) and hospice care are different. Ireland stated:

“You’d think that these were 10 magical beds the way that everybody has been after us, and the government. It’s 10 beds that we’re trying to protect for palliative care in this province, and that is all we’re trying to do,” she says.

“We don’t want to battle with anybody. And we’re being forced to battle not only with the provincial government but with a campaign of euthanasia activists trying every which way they can to get into our hospice and force us to kill our patients. And that’s what we refuse to do.”

Sign the petition: Hospice organizations must NOT be forced to do euthanasia (Link). 

Published with permission.
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Newfoundland abortion statistics from 2015-2019

Thursday, June 11, 2020

Newfoundland abortion statistics report lower than CIHI’s

by Patricia Maloney

Report from Newfoundland and Labrador Centre for Health Information

Action Life Note: This article points out how the number of abortions reported by the provincial health authority for Newfoundland are lower than the numbers reported by the Canadian Institute for Health Information (CIHI).  CIHI is responsible for collecting, compiling and publishing national statistics on abortion in Canada. 

Patricia Maloney blogs at:

Republished with permission

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Gaining insight into New Brunswick’s abortion statistics

Friday, June 26, 2020

Gaining insight into New Brunswick’s abortion statistics

By Peter Ryan

(Peter Ryan was Executive Director of New Brunswick Right to Life from 1999 to 2016. He recently published his Memoir The God of Life Lives: A Memoir)

The following is an attempt to shed insight into New Brunswick abortion statistics for 2015-19, as compiled by Patricia Maloney.

Ever since the advent of legalized abortion in Canada in 1969, abortion has been anything but a settled issue in New Brunswick. In the early 2000’s, for instance, two of the main hospitals (in Moncton, Fredericton) stopped doing abortions. A third major hospital (Saint John) did few or no abortions for decades. On the other hand, two formerly Catholic hospitals (Bathurst and Francophone hospital in Moncton) began doing abortions.

These instances of institutional aversion to or acceptance of abortion reflected the drama of decisions by individual obstetrician-gynecologists at the different locations. They also reflected New Brunswick’s unusual and, in comparison to most provinces, more restrictive policy: Until 2015, Medicare only covered abortions if they were performed in a hospital by an obstetrician-gynecologist after being certified by two physicians as medically necessary.(4)
That policy became a major issue in the 2014 provincial election. The victorious Liberal party under Brian Gallant campaigned on removing abortion barriers. In 2015 the rules requiring two doctor approval and an ob-gyn were annulled.

Interestingly, the in-a-hospital requirement remained. As a result, the private abortion clinic that has operated in Fredericton since 1994 (first by Henry Morgentaler, then since 2015 by a different owner) is the only one in Canada not publicly funded.

Statistically, the profile for many years – before 2015 – was that about 1,000 surgical abortions a year took place in the province: about 400 in hospitals, and about 600 in the private clinic. This meant an abortion rate of about 13-14 abortions per 100 live births, less than half the Canadian average.

In my judgment New Brunswick’s reduced abortion rate, more restrictive Medicare policy, and exclusion of funding for private clinics reflect a more pro-life social and political culture than elsewhere. That culture was likewise expressed for a number of years when one-third or more of the sitting Members of the Legislature, and coming from both of the main parties (Liberals and Conservatives) attended the annual March for Life in Fredericton.

The ground shifted in 2015, with newly elected premier Brian Gallant touting abortion as a “Charter right,” though it is not. Under government auspices, a new abortion “service” was soon opened at The Moncton Hospital. A provincial hotline was also set up to give women “access” at hospital sites.

Three hospitals were publicly identified as offering abortions: beside The Moncton Hospital, the Dumont Hospital in Moncton (serving Francophones), and the Chaleur in Bathurst. What was not publicly disclosed, and has just now come to light, was that, starting in 2015, the province’s other five regional hospitals also began to perform a small number of abortions each year.

Predictably, hospital surgical abortions rose significantly in 2015, 2016 and 2017 according to provincial government figures: 560, 608 and 656, respectively. (1) An average increase of over 50% compared to the 400 per year previously.

The increase for 2015-17 is even greater according to Canadian Institute for Health Information stats: an average of 734 per year, an increase of over 84% from pre-2015 years.

I have no explanation for the discrepancy between NB’s health department stats and those of CIHI. One thing is clear: Public policy changes after the 2014 election had a dramatic impact on the loss of prenatal lives.

As one examines the stats for individual hospitals, one is struck by how The Moncton Hospital has become the dominant center for surgical abortions, with an average of 292 abortions a year from 2016-19.

In 2017 a new phenomenon emerged: “medical abortions,” referring to chemical or mifegymiso (containing RU-486) abortions. That year New Brunswick became the first province to offer free chemical abortions. The government reported 162 in 2017. (2)

Chemical abortion stats then surged hugely in 2018 and 2019: 520 and 704, respectively. At the same time, surgical abortions decreased to 522 and 405, respectively. (3)

What is so dismaying for pro-lifers is that the net total number of Medicare-funded abortions has, during the past two years, reached an annual average of 1,075, more than two and a half times the pre-2015 average.

To give an accurate provincial picture, we must also factor in surgical abortions at the private clinic in Fredericton. While no public stats are available, Clinic 554 says they performed about 1,000 from 2015-19, or about 200 a year. Assuming that information is correct, it would mean a total of about 1,275 NB abortions a year as of 2018 and 2019.

Consequently, comparing the 2018-19 average to the pre-2015 average of about 1,000 abortions, we find the annual provincial total has increased by about 28%. The provincial population increased by less than 4% between 2015 and 2019. This means the lives of preborn children in New Brunswick have become significantly more at risk.

The NB abortion stats compiled for 2015-19 reveal one more newsworthy fact. The provincial government data includes gestational ages of abortions at five of the 8 main hospitals. What is striking is that, from 2015-18, the hospitals in Saint John and Fredericton (Chalmers) seemed to take turns specializing in second trimester abortions, whereas the other three hospitals listed did first-trimester procedures.

In 2015 and 2018 Saint John did a total of 14 abortions at an average age of 16.8 weeks; in 2016 and 2017 Fredericton did a total of 20 at an average age of 16.3. Whereas at the other three hospitals the average age for 2015-18 was 9.3 weeks.

The significantly higher average fetal age of abortions at two previously undisclosed locations is startling in light of complaints repeatedly made in recent years by abortion rights activists that Medicare-funded abortions were not available in hospitals at 14 weeks or more gestation, whereas, they argued, Clinic 554 did them up to 16 weeks but women were forced to pay. The newly published data reveal that, in truth, the hospital system had, since 2015 and without general public knowledge, acquiesced to those complaints, performing abortions up to and past 16 weeks.

Elected in 2018, the government of Blaine Higgs has stood firm against funding the private abortion clinic in Fredericton, despite pressure from the federal government. That pressure has included the withholding of $140,000 in health transfer funds due to NB’s policy.

The abortion situation in New Brunswick continues to be unsettled. In late 2019 Clinic 554 announced that due to lack of public funding they will be forced to close down. The building was put up for sale, though its operations continue in the meantime. How a closure would affect the profile of future hospital abortions remains to be seen.

The safety of preborn babies in New Brunswick has much deteriorated since 2014, reflected in markedly higher abortion numbers. The fact that all eight main hospitals have become involved in abortion, as opposed to two previously, is alarming.

What is especially shocking is how the number of “medical” (chemical) abortions has spiked, even after a new government not known for friendliness to abortion rights took office. Pro-lifers have always tended to focus greatly on the problem of surgical abortions. In the future more attention deserves to be given to chemical abortions, while not ignoring the plight of any preborn child.

On a positive note, New Brunswick’s life-friendly social culture has not greatly eroded. A poll by Narrative Research in February, 2020 found that two-thirds of residents oppose tax-funded abortion on demand.

(1) These totals do no include cases where a hospital performed 5 or fewer abortions.

(2) The government says mifegymiso is for pregnancies up to 7 weeks.

(3) That figure refers to government data; CIHI stats are not yet available for both of those years.

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New Brunswick abortions trend upwards

by Patricia Maloney

New Brunswick Medicare Decision Support System (MDSS)

I’ve also received average gestational ages of these abortions.

This article presenting the latest statistical information on abortion in New Brunswick was previously published at and is republished with permission. 
Action Life note: The term medical abortion refers to chemical abortions done for the most part through the use of the abortion pill regimen mifegymiso. CIHI stands for the Canadian Institute for Health Information which is responsible for the compilation and publication of abortion statistics in Canada. CIHI receives data from the provincial and territorial ministries of health, independent abortion clinics and hospitals. Abortion clinics are not required to submit their data  to CIHI whereas hospitals are federally required to do so.  Abortion statistics are at times incomplete with some clinics not reporting numbers of abortions.
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