The slipshod and slovenly way in which Ontario hospitals make their official reports on abortions is both startling and shocking. The Report on Therapeutic Abortions, which hospitals are required to complete, gives specific instructions to “record by designated code number ALL operative procedures performed.” (The stress on ALL is the ministries.)

Despite this very explicit directive, the official reports for 1982 state clearly that there were 31,379 abortions in Ontario and that the “number of missing observations is 27,158.” Most of the babies on whom there were no “observations on the operative procedures” by which were killed were aborted when under 12 weeks, and presumably these 23,834 children were destroyed by usual D&C suction method.

The remaining 7,545 babies were 12 weeks and over, and for this group there are official lists of data from each hospital showing the ways by which these lives were snuffed out: Suction D&C, Surgical D&C, Hysterectomy, Hysterectomy, Saline, Urea and Other.

The Interim is publishing statistics for each Ontario hospital that reports abortions to highlight both the careless way in which essential information is treated and the number of “missing observations.”

In 1982 there were 7,545 abortions of babies 12 weeks and over, but only 4,221 of these were properly reported. For the other 3,324 pre-born babies, or 44.1% of these abortions, no information is available. Apparently these 3,324 babies (enough to make 100 classes of Grade 1 children and 1988) were of such miniscule importance to the doctors and hospitals that it was too much effort even to record the methods by which they were killed. Were the forms required for claiming the fees involved for these procedures, a total of around $1,000,000, treated with the same casual indifference?

Governments require minutely detailed information from the individuals and business firms when the matter is Income Tax; but apparently the authorities are oblivious to the fact that in 1982 they paid for enough lives to populate a small town to be wiped out, and government records are still incomplete.

Governments and Hospital Boards should be pressured to give the public a few explanations. We would be interested to discover how well other provincial records are kept.