Saskatoon’s University Hospital has cut back considerably on abortions. Dr. Charles Simpson of the University hospital spoke at a March forum on abortion at Lutheran Collegiate Bible Institute, Outlook, Saskatchewan. After telling the group he performed abortions, he was asked why the hospital had stopped doing second trimester abortions. He responded as follows:


“It was a decision of the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology. The decision came because of a group of reasons that came together. Probably the basic underlying reason was that it was an unpleasant procedure for everyone involved and we were losing nursing staff-or we were threatened with losing nursing staff-because of nurses we hire, who unfortunately have to take care of the patients during the abortion process. Were not hired for that purpose. They were not hired for that purpose. They were not, committed to this particular procedure even though they understood they had to be involved in it. Some of them felt it was too unpleasant to carry on with their nursing in that institution. We weren’t prepared to lose these nurses for that principle. The feeling of the members of the Department at this time, the majority feeling, was that we weren’t so strongly in favour of second trimester abortions issue, lose nurses and look for other ones. That’s the basic reason.


It’s unpleasant and we decided to try to go along without for a while. We were hoping that it would become unnecessary to have second trimester abortions by making it known that only first trimester abortions would be available, as far as medical basis is concerned, in our hospital and as a result in the province, because no other hospital has taken on the responsibility to do them. So it’s-how do I say it-a public response, a response among the medical personnel at the University Hospital who deal with the issue. There was no other ulterior reason.”


The person who had asked the question then said: “You haven’t explained why it is unpleasant to do an abortion in the second trimester and why it is unpleasant to do an abortion in the second trimester and why it is pleasant or less unpleasant to do them in the first trimester.” Dr. Simpson replied:


“It’s human nature, I suppose. In second trimester cases the baby is much more formed. It’s fully formed. In fact, it’s a good size and technique that that is used is done while the patient is awake. Well, in the technique that has been used in our institution the patient is awake. She delivers the baby, the baby sometimes actually is moving. The baby doesn’t necessarily die during the abortion procedure. It may die shortly after. Whereas in the first trimester procedure. It may die shortly after. Whereas in the first trimester procedure the fetus is very small. Usually it’s done when the patient is asleep. There is no pain involved from the point of view of the patient. It’s much quicker. It’s a very fast procedure so, from a physical sort of situation, it’s quite different. From a mental situation you may argue that it is not.”