TORONTO, Ontario, March 8, 2011 (LifeSiteNews.com) – Over 60% of teen pregnancies in Ontario end in abortion, according to a new study of 2007 data that provides a rare in-depth look at Canadian abortion statistics.
The Ontario government-sponsored report, released at the end of February, found that among teens aged 15-19 there were 152 abortions for every 100 live births. Overall, there were 37 abortions for every 100 live births, with the lowest ratio for women aged 30-34.
The report, which is the latest release by the Project for an Ontario Women’s Health Evidence-Based Report (POWER), hints at the gross inadequacy of Canada’s official abortion statistics, which have become increasingly unreliable in recent years due to a voluntary reporting policy.
While the official data reports only 32,351 abortions in Ontario for 2007, the data in this most recent study would put the number closer to 51,000, wrote LifeCanada executive director Anastasia Bowles in a column Monday for the National Post. Bowles calculated that estimate based on the abortion to live birth ratio of 37 to 100 and the 138,000 live births in Ontario reported by Statistics Canada for 2007.
Bowles told LifeSiteNews that this new report “builds a very negative picture of the abortion scene in Ontario, and by extension the rest of Canada. It’s not what we’ve been told for the past number of years.”
“We think it’s a good thing that somebody is paying attention to this issue because it’s important,” she said. “Regardless of your position, if you care about women you’d want to know how this impacts women, how many are having [abortions].”
The study revealed that 40 percent of the women who obtained hospital abortions had had a previous abortion. Almost one fifth of teens aged 15-19 said they had already had at least one abortion.
Women in the lowest-income neighborhoods were more than twice as likely to abort than those in the highest-income neighborhoods. Abortions were offered at 35 of 114 hospitals, not including religious or children’s hospitals.
Ninety-three percent of abortions were committed before 16 weeks gestation.
Bowles pointed out that based on the number of live births reported by Statistics Canada, the report’s abortion ratio would suggest that there were about 4,000 abortions past 16 weeks gestation in the province.
The report’s authors themselves point out that the official abortion statistics “should be interpreted with caution because of underreporting by clinics in some provinces.”
Whereas the official statistics are based on a voluntary Therapeutic Abortion Survey distributed by the Canadian Institute for Health Information (CIHI), the POWER statistics are based on billing records from the Ontario Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care.
In 2006, the official total for all of Canada was reported at 91,377, which appeared to show a dramatic drop from the 105,535 reported in 2002, but the 2006 figure did not include abortion numbers from British Columbia, New Brunswick, and Manitoba.
CIHI released abortion figures for 2007 and 2008 in the fall, but the figures for private abortion facilities were so shoddy – with many province totals simply listed as “unknown” – that the organization didn’t even bother to tally up the total number for private facilities. As a result, the only total given is based on hospital abortions – or 44,416 for 2008.
The POWER report’s data doesn’t include medical abortions or deaths from abortifacients like the morning-after pill.
The full report can be found at POWERStudy.ca.