How many abortions are performed worldwide each year?  L.A., Vancouver

No one really knows.

The most recent ‘guesstimate’ I have seen is 70 million, but the number could be much higher.  Added to these abortions are the very early abortions caused by abortifacients such as Intra-Uterine Devices (IUDs) and birth-control pills; it is suggested that these could triple the 70 million.

Does abortion prevent child abuse?  L.A., Vancouver.

On the contrary, studies show that child abuse statistics increase with the number of abortions.  Moreover, studies have also shown that battered children were “wanted” children.  In South Carolina a study prepare by Professor Lenoski found that of the abused children
•    91 per cent were planned pregnancies;
•    90 per cent were legitimate;
•    the mothers wore maternity clothes earlier than usual;
•    abuse is not more common among retarded children.

Would you elaborate on how abortion affects future pregnancies? N.B., Chatham, Ontario

World-wide studies show that some of the effects of abortion on future pregnancies include the following:
•    Incidence of sterility increases 10 per cent after abortion;
•    Many women who abort their first baby kill the only child they can ever have;
•    Chances of an ectopic (tubal) pregnancy – which is life-threatening to the mother and fatal to the baby – increase 400 per cent after an abortion.
•    A report in The Australian Medical Journal (AMJ) said that 8.1 per cent of patients surveyed who had had abortions in Melbourne hospitals miscarried in their next pregnancy because of cervical incompetence.
•    Other studies suggest the incidence of spontaneous miscarriage doubles following one abortion.
•    The AMJ’s survey showed that premature labour (a main cause for retardation) occurred in 8.6 per cent of women who had had abortions in Melbourne hospitals.  Women who feel they are free to kill this baby but keep the nest may well discover they no longer have a ‘choice’.

Why are Feminists against in-vitro fertilization?  B.R., Toronto

Feminists are concerned (quite rightly) with the effects of IVF on women.  They point out that the technologies were first developed on animals, and then extended to women with little or no research into the long-term effects.  Today women’s bodies are being used as guinea pigs for new techniques which are not fully understood.  Women who are being treated complain that there is a lack of information about risks in the procedures, and little or no counseling.

Today, women are more wary about trusting the ‘experts’, and many remember how they were misled over DES, the Dalkon Shield, and the Pill.  They resent the fact that it is mainly male scientists and doctors who control the IVF programmes, and who use women’s bodies for experimentation to promote their own careers and fortunes; IVF is big business in some countries.

Other condemnations of the program concern surrogacy, which they condemn as an opportunity to exploit poor women.  They are also aware of the devastating psychological effects when the  procedure fails.

Women oriented toward more traditional values share these concerns, but they add others.  IVF dies not cure infertility, and money and research expertise which could be used for finding a cure is often directed into IVF.

Above all, IVF leads to embryo experimentation, and the creation of human-animal hybrids.

Is the GIFT procedure accepted by the Catholic Church?  M.N., Toronto

The Gamete Intrafallopian Transfer (GIFT) is a procedure developed some seven years ago in Texas to help infertile couples to have children.  I am sorry, but I have no idea how the Church would judge this method, and I would not presume to guess.  Maybe a Catholic physician or theologian could help.