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SASKATCHEWAN, February 11, 2011 ( – Recently revised guidelines of the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Saskatchewan (CPSS) outline many of the numerous risks of abortion and the duty of the counseling physician or abortionist to inform any woman contemplating abortion of these risks.

Yesterday, the CPSS issued the revised guidelines for “unplanned pregnancy.” They sparked national news coverage due to the new clarification that says pro-life physicians should refer women considering an abortion to another physician.

What news sources failed to mention, however, is the clear mandate in the guidelines that physicians provide extensive and accurate information to a woman about all her options, any “community agencies and services that may be of assistance to her in pursuing each option,” and any risks, to ensure that she able to give informed consent. 

With regard to the option of abortion the guidelines state that information that should be provided includes not only the “precise nature” of the abortion procedure, but also “the known immediate risks.” The document gives as examples of the immediate risks “uterine perforation, infection, hemorrhage.”

Physicians should also inform women of the “known long-term risks,” including “impact on future fertility, incidence of future spontaneous abortions, ectopic pregnancy and premature birth” as well as “the known psychological risks.”

The document also points out that “an unplanned pregnancy is not necessarily an unwanted pregnancy.”

Muriel Nielsen, president of the Saskatchewan Pro-Life Association, said that in her experience most doctors don’t follow the guidelines that require them to provide adequate information.  Many, she said, simply “rubber-stamp” the abortion, if that is what a patient asks for, without offering sufficient information of the potential risks. 

“[Pregnant women] are not given any information that the guidelines for physicians are supposed to be telling these girls and women,” said Nielsen.

“No. 1, they need to follow their own guidelines. We deal with post-abortion women who were not given any information of this sort, were not told of the risks, were not told that there were places to help them.”

Mary Ellen Douglas, National Coordinator for Campaign Life Coalition, told that she has never seen or heard of official guidelines with such a detailed response for “unplanned pregnancy.”

“It’s important that a woman coming in with an unplanned pregnancy gets all the information,” said Douglas.  They have a “right to know.”