Mr. Gordon Towers (Red Deer):
Mr. Speaker, I intend to echo the comments made by my colleague, the Member for Surrey-White Rock-North Delta (Mr. Friesen). This is probably one of the most important debates to be held in the House of Commons since the constitutional debate. At that time I stood up and voted against the Constitution simply because there was no specified protection in that piece of legislation for the unborn child.
Certainly it is the responsibility of society to protect the unborn, for if society will not do it, who will? The unborn have rights, and that is why this debate is so important.
Part of the problem may be due to a breakdown in our society. While there are probably many causes for that breakdown, one may be due to the fact that people have so much time on their hands in this technological age. I am not sure that we are using that time as we should. When I grew up we had chores to do that did not give us the time nor money that people have today.
We must impress upon society that the abortion question is a problem with which we all must deal. The Hon. Member for Vancouver East (Ms. Mitchell) said she wished there were
more young people taking part in this debate. The last person I spoke to before I came into the House was a 22-year old lady who advised me about what I should say and how. She told me what she wanted to convey and that is why I am speaking today on behalf of my constituents. They expect it of me.
At a Mass on Sunday, the priest recommended to his congregation that they get in touch with me to make sure that I was here to represent their views. That is what I am attempting to do now.
We all must recognize that we are part of the process and cannot escape it. Certainly we are our brother's keeper, our sister's keeper and our daughter's keeper. We must accept the responsibility to give help where it is required.
I want to refer to an article in the Red Deer Advocate on Saturday, July 2, 1988. The column is called "A Closer Look", and the headline of the article is: "Abortion Trauma Entwines Itself in Women's Lives". It is written by Valerie Starno, a freelance writer and a former correspondent for the Daily Interlake in Kalispell, Montana.
One of the problems we possibly have is the fact that sometimes women think this is only their problem. I do not see it that way. I think it is a problem for all of us. We have to accept the responsibility. Perhaps it is because of a lack of discipline in our society, perhaps it is because of a lack of restraint, perhaps a lack of supervision. There could be multiple reasons why we have this problem to deal with. I would like to put this news story on the record:
Five months have passed since the Supreme Court of Canada declared federal abortion laws unconstitutional.
Since the Jan. 28 decision there has been intense debate, most of which has focused on the rights of the woman and the unborn child. An important aspect of the abortion issue which has received less consideration is the effect of abortion on women and society. Yet this aspect surely deserves attention for there is increasing evidence that abortion may be contributing to a plethora of personal and social problems.
According to Tanya Hughson, national co-ordinating director of the Abortion Outreach Centre in Calgary, 75 per cent of the centre's 150 monthly calls are directly related to "post-abortion trauma" counselling.
Hughson describes the trauma as, "sustained emotional denial which produces a variety of physical and emotional responses". She likened it to the clinically recognized Vietnam disorder, which has produced similar symptoms among many Vietnam combat veterans. The basis for post-abortion trauma appears to be the act (abortion), regardless of the woman's personal feelings of right and wrong and independent of society's values.
She said some of the more severe manifestations of the trauma include depression, suicide attempts, chemical dependencies, child abuse and multiple abortions. Hughson's remarks were made during a presentation to 1,200 women attending a meeting with Elaine McCoy, minister of women's issues, May 5 in Edmonton.
The volunteer-run centre is known nationally and has a 24 hour crisis telephone line to provide anonymity and easy access to counselling, Hughson said. The centre is privately funded.
The reason I want to put this on record is the fact that this is women speaking.
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July 26, 1988
At a Red Deer College Nursing Association forum on abortion held earlier this year, another woman told of her own experience with abortion ... (she) vividly described the post-abortion difficulties she had experienced-massive haemorrhage, several subsequent miscarriages and great emotional conflict.
She spoke of the numerous support groups forming throughout the United States (where abortion on demand has been legal for 15 years) for women who are experiencing similar difficulties. Rather than helping, abortion is hurting women, she said. Smith currently operates a home for unmarried pregnant teenagers and counsels pre- and post-abortion women.
Dr. Philip Ney a clinical psychiatry professor at the University of Calgary's department of psychiatry has reviewed the medical literature on the effects of induced abortion. He has also researched and published several articles that deal with the personal and social implications of the procedure.
In his most recent paper, Mental Health and Abortion-Review Analysis and Recommendations, (March 1, 1988,... Dr. Ney cites recent studies which are, "turning up an alarming rate of post-abortion complications such as pelvic inflammatory disease (with its subsequent infertility), depression, and a host of problems that may occur in the following pregnancy".
After a detailed review of studies on the mental health complications of elective abortions, Dr. Ney concludes: "When the psychologically harmful effects of abortion and its medical complications are considered, it is reasonable to state that elective abortion is more harmful than helpful to mental health".
In addition to his research activities, Dr. Ney has treated women suffering from psychiatric complications of abortion.
Women who have aborted may also be placing the mental health of their existing or future offspring at risk.
In an earlier article, A Consideration of Abortion Survivors, published in Child Psychiatry and Human Development, Vol. 13 (3), Spring 1983, Human Sciences Press, Dr. Ney calls attention to the plight of Children who, aware of their mother's abortion(s), "have considerable conflicts regarding their existence." He presents evidence which suggests that these children may exhibit psychological difficulties similar to children who live through disasters, accidents or illness or whose siblings died of the same.
"The knowledge they have been chosen to live creates peculiar psychological problems which may retard their development, subject them to an increased risk of abuse, neglect, existential guilt, as well as the possibility of becoming parents who have difficulty relating to their children," states Dr. Ney.
It is interesting at this point to consider the recent ethical dilemma of "pregnancy reduction"-the procedure whereby one or more unborn babies are eliminated while letting the other(s) survive. Currently, pregnancy reduction is largely confined to in vitro fertilization or fertility drug induced pregnancies where all lives may be lost due to pre-mature births. It is reasonable to conclude, based on Dr. Ney's findings, that survivors of this procedure would be among those at high risk of experiencing psychological difficulties.
So-called "survivors" are not necessarily restricted to persons whose mothers have experienced abortion, for as Dr. Ney said, "When up to 50 per cent of North American pregnancies end by induced abortion,it is reasonable to consider a live newborn as a survivor."
He adds, "We might wonder what happens in the future when abortion survivors hold in their hands the fate of those aged or enfeebled parents and professionals who regarded them so callously when as unborn children they were so vulnerable.
Perhaps the most disturbing aspect of the effects of induced abortion on mental health is the possibility that permissive abortion may be contributing to the problem of child abuse.
We all know of the dangers and problems associated with child abuse today.
In another article, Relationship Between Abortion and Child Abuse, (published in the Canadian Journal of Psychiatry, Vol. 24, 1979), Dr. Ney cites studies which indicate a higher rate of child abuse among mothers who have previously had an abortion. He offers this explanation: "Once bonding is
interrupted in the (first pregnancy), there are long-lasting psychological
changes which makes it more difficult for a good bond to develop in
subsequent pregnancies. For this reason, it is possible that abortion contributes
to bonding failure, an important cause of child battering."
That is why I say we all have a part in this. It is all important to our society and is something for which we must all be held responsible. Certainly we all have a responsibility to ensure that abortions decline instead of increase.
Topic: GOVERNMENT ORDERS