Now that abortion has tragically been legalised in Ireland, Harris is rightfully being asked to keep proper abortion-related records to track women's health and potential post-abortive complications. It is likely that he will resist pressure to do so, just as he has refused to listen to women who have suffered from their abortions, has disregarded medical experts on his rushed bill and has ignored every single common-sense suggestion put to him and his abortion-minded cronies in the Dáil.
Abortion advocates love to talk about how dangerous abortion used to be before it was legalised, despite most “illegal” abortions having been performed by doctors and a plummeting level of deaths, due to antibiotics and blood transfusion. But they obviously haven't studied recent reports about the shambolic state of legal abortion.
The “Unsafe” document produced by Americans United for Life details the many failings of Planned Parenthood and outlines how the multi-billion dollar institution regularly endangers women's health and even kills them. Operation Rescue charts and documents abortion clinic failings all over the USA, including at least 200 women’s deaths, all verified by numerous secular media reports. There have been numerous concerns raised in Care Quality Commission reports in the UK, regarding Marie Stopes and BPAS, including almost 400 botched abortions in two months and the transferral of eleven women to hospital due to serious injuries from abortions. No-one was ever charged with Aisha Chithira’s death from post-abortive internal bleeding in 2012. This demonstrates clearly that all abortion providers must be held fully accountable for their procedures, including in the new regime in Ireland.
One serious problem with abortion research is that it suffers from reporting bias, including underreporting of actual abortions, excluding distressed women from studies or their refusal to participate in such studies in the first place. This is especially clear in politically-driven research and that many studies are carried out by those with a vested interest in ensuring abortion remains legal. For example, in the seriously-biased Turnaway Study, the spurious claim that abortion has no adverse side-effects continues to be unquestionably cited by abortion advocates, despite very dubious research methods used and the fact that the group who conducted the research are very strongly supportive of legal abortion.
Another problem with legal abortion is that there is not actually enough evidence to support the lofty claim that it is as safe as is claimed. For example, in the USA, many states keep incomplete abortion records and California is one of four states which doesn't even officially declare abortion numbers, making it very likely that far more abortions occur in this state than are actually estimated. Only half of US states require abortionists to record abortion complications and no states require non-abortion doctors, coroners, or emergency rooms to report abortion-related deaths for investigation.
And in the UK, the RCOG admits that “Estimated complication rates are 1–2 per 1000 abortions, although lack of standardisation of reporting criteria hampers collection of accurate data (p.37) [my italics]”.
In countries with legal abortion, one of the current problems is that clinics are generally only obliged to report complications before the woman leaves the establishment. Many complications do occur days, weeks and even years after the abortion, but these details are rarely if ever recorded as linked to the termination. In the UK, Philippa Taylor discusses the fact that many abortions are not properly recorded on women's health records. While good records are kept on actual abortions (numbers, gestational age, etc.), there is no follow-up to women's post-abortive health, as the main abortion providers, Marie Stopes and BPAS are not obliged to keep these women's NHS numbers (a unique patient identifier which everyone registered with the National Health Service in the UK receives).
In Finland, detailed records on abortions are kept and have proven invaluable in tracking women's post-abortive health and potential health issues that follow. In one study, the risk of death in a given year for a woman who had an abortion was 83 out of 100,000 Finnish women, 57 out of 100,000 for non-pregnant women, 52 out of 100,000 for those who miscarried and for those who carried a pregnancy to term, it was 28 out of 100,000. The researchers concluded that these findings may be attributed to two causes, that is, giving birth may have a protective effect for a woman, and having an abortion may have a deleterious emotional effect, leading her to greater risk-taking activities. In another study on pregnancy-related deaths in Finland, it was revealed that a woman who had an abortion was 3.5 times more likely to die within a year and was 7 times as likely to commit suicide, in comparison to a woman who carried her baby to term. These examples demonstrate that high-quality abortion record-keeping in Finland has the potential to explore the sequelae that inevitably result from abortion.
There is ample evidence to demonstrate that there are plenty of post-abortion complications to women’s health. Here are just a small sample of these.
Dr Priscilla Coleman is one of a number of global researchers that has conducted research on this in a number of studies. In Finland, a detailed study was carried out that clearly demonstrated an elevated risk between having an abortion and death occurring afterwards. The authors admitted that such studies are rarely carried out. However, in the light of the bravery of Patricia Gaughran’s courage in discussing her own distraught and suicidal state after having an abortion, in response to the ignorant and insensitive comments of TDs Lisa Chambers and Kate McConnell regarding abortion regret being “makey-uppy” or even “nothing”, it is vital that post-abortion records be properly maintained and studied in Ireland, especially considering that mental health services are already being rationed this year. For many years, researchers have also noted links between “intimate partner violence” and abortion, which can involve a partner pressurising a woman to have an abortion, even against her will. Even the pro-abortion Guttmacher Institute has admitted that some women are coerced by partners to have abortions. Without proper record-keeping, these women will continue to suffer in silence. Now, a “compassionate” minister like Harris couldn't possibly allow this, could he?
There is nothing simple or easy about medical abortion, despite the enthusiasm of abortion advocates. Abortion pills have a very high failure rate and frequently involve the need for surgical abortion. By the end of 2017, at least 22 American women had died from the abortion pill from a whole range of causes, including haemorrhage, ruptured ectopic pregnancy, toxic shock syndrome, liver failure and sepsis. A Finnish study showed that six weeks after taking the abortion pill, the risk of complications were four times higher.
As Philippa Taylor notes, with the abortion pill, all medical information, supervision and support is removed, especially concerning for vulnerable women or teenagers, even more alarming, as Simon Harris agrees with children being given abortion pills without parents being informed. Many grown women, let alone young girls may be unaware that their abortion is incomplete and may only seek medical intervention when an infection sets in. About 8% of those who take the abortion pill may bleed for 30 days or more. In light of the fact that over 500 patients have been left waiting for beds on Harris’ watch, the Dept. of Health is ill-prepared for the very real scenario of women or girls presenting with incomplete medical abortions. Harris and his like-minded pro-abortion Dáil cronies must not be allowed to ignore this emergency situation and attempt to dodge their responsibilities.
The reality is that without proper record-keeping on abortions in Ireland, with this added pressure, Harris’ already strained Dept of Health may end up imploding. Since he likes to tell us how much he cares about women, will he do the right thing and agree to this? Only time will tell. Either way, he and his government must not be let off the hook on the abortion regime that he so willingly foisted upon Ireland.