Big decline in abortions at 2 southwestern Ontario hospitals over last decade, data shows


The variety of abortions carried out at two southwestern Ontario hospitals trended downward over the last 10 years, in line with new numbers obtained by CBC News.

Windsor Regional Hospital (WRH) carried out 604 abortions in the 2012-13 fiscal 12 months in comparison with 169 in the latest fiscal 12 months. Meanwhile, Bluewater Health in Sarnia carried out 199 abortions 10 years in the past and 69 throughout the latest fiscal interval.

For sufferers, “I believe it does reassure them that they don’t seem to be on this completely lonely journey [by themselves],” mentioned Dr. Fraser Fellows, a retired obstetrician and gynecologist (ob-gyn) who labored in London from 1974 to 2018. “There’s assist on the market and the proof is in the numbers that you simply’re revealing to them.”

Fellows has been performing abortions because the Nineteen Seventies. He mentioned he “was comfortable to offer that possibility” to make sure the process “was finished safely and successfully.”

A decline in abortions is an indication “the medical neighborhood has embraced the idea of a medical abortion, of a non-surgical abortion,” Fellows mentioned.

Fraser Fellows, a retired obstetrician-gynecologist (ob-gyn) who labored in London, Ont., from 1974 to 2018, says a decline in hospital abortions signifies ‘the medical neighborhood has embraced the idea of a medical abortion, of a non-surgical abortion.’ (London Health Sciences Centre)

In 2015, Health Canada first authorised Mifegymiso, a mixture product containing two medicine (mifepristone and misoprostol) which might be taken in sequence to terminate a being pregnant. In 2017, the remedy was permitted for pregnancies as much as 9 weeks. Before that, it might be used for pregnancies as much as seven weeks.

Three years in the past, Health Canada mentioned an ultrasound is now not required earlier than the drug is prescribed. Doctors can use their “medical judgment on how greatest to find out the gestational age and to rule out an ectopic being pregnant,” in line with the federal division.

Access granted after request denied

CBC News first requested abortion-related data from WRH on May 4 — a time when there was speculation that the U.S. Supreme Court would overturn Roe v. Wade, which protected the fitting to an abortion.

In June, the bulk conservative courtroom dominated 6-3 to overturn the Roe v. Wade interpretation of the Constitution and located it doesn’t defend abortion rights. That opened the door for states to limit or outright ban abortion.

“We aren’t commenting on the difficulty at this time, most significantly for privateness and safety of sufferers and our scientific workers,” mentioned WRH spokesperson Steve Erwin in an electronic mail to CBC News.

The subsequent day, CBC News filed a Freedom of Information request in search of the identical data. The hospital denied the request once more, saying the abortion-related data may critically threaten a person’s security and violate somebody’s privateness. Bluewater Health in Sarnia claimed the identical exemptions for denying making the data public.

Following an enchantment of the hospitals’ choices, each agreed to launch the data roughly 5 months after the preliminary request was made.

However, WRH has refused to touch upon the data.

“You have the data you requested. We won’t be conducting any interviews on the data we’ve got offered,” mentioned Erwin in a subsequent electronic mail. 

Contraception use resulting in fewer abortions?

The data on the 2 hospitals illustrates a downward development that might be attributable to the rise in the usage of IUD contraception, a tiny, T-shaped system inserted in the uterus, mentioned Carolyn Egan, spokesperson for the Ontario Coalition for Abortion Clinics.

“It appears that’s actually reducing the speed of unplanned pregnancies … as a result of it is one thing that is excellent in phrases of effectiveness in stopping being pregnant,” mentioned Egan.

Carolyn Egan, a spokesperson for the Ontario Coalition For Abortion Clinics (OCAC), says use of contraception could also be a cause behind the variety of abortions being carried out at the southwestern Ontario hospitals cited in the data. (Jason Viau/CBC)

She agrees with Fellows that entry to abortion remedy from 2015 onward has doubtless contributed to fewer hospital abortions.

Egan mentioned she worries a pressure on hospital sources might be “squeezing out the numbers of abortions” carried out.

However, each WRH and Bluewater Health in Sarnia report no waits for therapeutic abortions.

Few medical doctors do abortions in southwestern Ontario

Currently, 5 medical doctors carry out abortions at WRH. In Sarnia, there may be one ob-gyn performing abortions and solely three have finished so in the last 10 years. Fellows was a type of physicians, travelling from London to Sarnia.

Fellows remembers a time in the Nineties when individuals would protest exterior the house of a doctor who offered abortions. He skilled it too.

“That’s when most of my colleagues in London, Ont., and mainly round Ontario opted out of offering the service of abortion.”

The scenario in Chatham-Kent, Leamington

The Chatham-Kent Health Alliance (CKHA), which serves simply over 100,000 individuals, does not terminate pregnancies for “elective (or) deliberate causes,” in line with a response to a CBC News Freedom of Information request in July.

The hospital solely performs abortions for medically essential causes. It did not clarify why it does not carry out elective abortions.

“CKHA has not offered abortion companies as in the previous CKHA was affiliated with the Sisters of  St. Joseph’s. During that point, acceptable referral patterns had been established for the group and people referral patterns nonetheless exist right now,” mentioned spokesperson Fannie Vavoulis.

Anyone who calls the Chatham-Kent Public Health Unit inquiring about abortion companies is referred to Windsor, London or generally Toronto, mentioned well being unit spokesperson April Rietdyk.

“We want to repair that,” mentioned Fellows. “And the medical occupation can repair it by deputizing different individuals, aside from physicians to at least present entry to a medical abortion [by using medication].”

Erie Shores Healthcare in Leamington additionally doesn’t carry out abortions. The county hospital refers these sufferers to Windsor.

Ultimately, Egan mentioned, it should not be troublesome to acquire abortion-related data as a result of it is a “fundamental well being service.” 

“It’s so essential that abortion be regularized as part of our medical system,” Egan mentioned. “It’s a well being service and it ought to be made obtainable that manner, and anybody who accesses it mustn’t should wrestle to seek out out the supply and learn how to join.”


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