Patrick Craine


StatsCan confirms again: 491 babies who died after failed abortions were *born alive*

Patrick Craine

February 1, 2013 ( -- Pro-life media reported in the fall on shocking data from StatsCan suggesting 491 babies had died after they were born alive following failed abortions between 2000 and 2009.

After three months of silence from Canada’s major media outlets, the story exploded into the mainstream on Thursday after three MPs called for an RCMP investigation into possible homicides.

And, of course, along with the greater attention comes greater scrutiny.

Since first reported the StatsCan data in November some have suggested these 491 deaths include stillbirths, because the medical code indicating their cause of death (P96.4) does indeed include stillbirths.

The criticism came despite StatsCan’s statement to us, reported in the original story, that the deaths with that code on the particular data table in question (CANSIM table 102-0536) are live births.

And the concern only heightened yesterday when the Globe and Mail, Canada’s so-called “newspaper of record,” reported that the 491 deaths included stillbirths: 

Statistics Canada said the 491 cases that it counted during the 10-year period referred to matters where “the cause of death or stillbirth is an abortion.”

…Statistics Canada added it also included stillbirths when “the aborted fetus is born dead but meets the provincial requirements [birth weight and/or gestational age].”

I contacted the reporter, Daniel Leblanc, alerting him to the information we received from StatsCan in November, and he informed me that the statement he received yesterday was different.

So, I went to StatsCan again, and here’s what Senior Analyst Owen Phillips told me about the statement they made to Mr. Leblanc:

This statement failed to make the clarification that the 491 deaths identified from CANSIM table 102-0536 are all live births where the underlying cause of death is P96.4: data on stillbirths are stored separately from those on deaths, and Statistics Canada does not produce a standard table of stillbirths by underlying cause. (Emphasis added.)

All they sent Mr. Leblanc was a description of code P96.4, which includes stillbirths, without the clarification that the relevant table does not include stillbirths.

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As far I can tell Mr. Leblanc was the only mainstream reporter to ask StatsCan about this data yesterday, so kudos to him for doing his due diligence. Unfortunately, it appears the federal stats agency fell short this time around. Let's hope the Globe and Mail issues a correction.

In the end, the point is that all of these babies were born alive, and thus fall under the Criminal Code’s protections against homicide. We are not dealing with abortion, but suspected cases of infanticide that ought to be investigated as homicides.

Get updates from Patrick Craine, LSN's Canadian Bureau Chief, on Facebook and Twitter.

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