Were abortions performed in hospitals before the law was changed in 1969?  If so, were there many?  What were the reasons?  What effects did the law have?  A.S. Mississauga.

I believe that a case study of one large teaching hospital will give a clearer picture than a general survey.  The following statistics from the twelve years, 1954-65 inclusive, are from a study of abortions at Toronto General Hospital (TGH) by Dr. M.M. Spivak.

The total number of abortions in any one year at TGH during this period ranged from 11 in 1954, to 43 in 1964 when there was an outbreak of rubella or German measles.  In that same period 3,724 babies were born at the hospital in 1954, and 3,960 babies in 1964.  During the 12 year period there were 262 abortions and 45,185 babies born at the hospital.

The reasons given for these 262 abortions, with percentages are as follows: psychiatric (34.4), rubella (15.6), cardio vascular disease (10.7), renal disease (7.6), diseases of the nervous system (6.2), malignancies (4.2), hypertension with previous or severe toxaemia (3.4), pregnancy complications (2.4) and ‘others’ (15.3).  Dr. Spivak noted that the percentage of abortions for psychiatric reasons increased from 15 per cent to 46 per cent in this period.  Meanwhile, apart from the first three (psychiatric, rubella, cardio vascular) the percentage of all other abortions dropped from 53 per cent to 27 per cent, as a result of advances in medicine.

In 1982 (one of the last years before hospital statistics were affected by the Morgentaler abortuary) more pre-born children were killed by abortion at TGH than were born: abortions, 2484; live births, 2048.  The 1969 law seemed to have had a catastrophic effect on Canadian women’s health.

I would like to have some statements by Calvin or Martin Luther King on abortion.  Can you help?  L.M. Waterloo.

The only note I have on Calvin says that he called abortion “an inexpiable crime,” meaning one for which the sinner cannot make amends, or pay the penalty.  A friend has said that she’ll look for more information.

Years ago, I found this comment which comes from Luther’s Commentary on Genesis 25:1-4.  It is quoted by a Lutheran theologian (D.C. Overduin) in a long end note in an article on abortion.

“And it appears that God wanted to teach and indicate that the begetting of children is extremely pleasing to Him, in order that we might realize that He upholds and defends His word when He says, “be fruitful.”  He is not hostile to children as we are, many of us do not seek to have offspring.  But God emphasizes His Word do forcefully that He gives children at times even to those who do not desire it, yes, even to those who are opposed to it.  How great then is the wickedness of human nature!  How many girls there are who prevent conception and kill, expel the fetus, even though giving birth to children is the work of God!  Indeed, some spouses who live together in a respectable manner have all kinds of purposes and reasons, but seldom children.”

In an article you said that Marie Stopes was the leader of the British birth control movement.  Was not that for women’s health>  M.J. Toronto.

Marie Stopes was a eugenicist who promoted both birth control and sterilization.  She wrote her own explanation: “…society allows the diseased, the racially negligent, the thriftless, the careless, the feeble-minded, the very lowest and worst members of the community, to produce innumerable tens of thousands of stunted, warped, inferior babies…The better classes, freed from the cost of institutions, hospitals, prisons, and so on, principally filled by the inferior racial stock, would be able to afford to enlarge their own families.”

Her American counterpart, Margaret Sanger, was also a promoter of eugenics.  She, too, seemed to be without a heart as she recommended: “…a stern and rigid policy of sterilization and segregation to that grade of population whose progeny is already tainted, or whose inheritance is such that objectionable traits may be transmitted to offspring.”

In 1952 Margaret Sanger founded the International Planned Parenthood Federation (IPPF) amongst whose founding members was the British Family Planning Association (i.e. Marie Stope’s old organization under a new name).  In 1976 the IPPF set out its “Strategy of Legal Reform.” Under the general heading of “the status of women” the reforms envisaged by the IPPF included: women’s right to abortion; sterilization; tax reform; relaxed divorce and family laws; a lower age of consent for birth control services to meet the needs of young people; and compulsory sex education.

The same IPPF, as a privileged Non Government Organization, has worked diligently within the United Nations to promote the anti-life, anti-family, pro-international control programme proposed at Cairo.  Such is the Stopes-Sanger legacy.