Late-term abortions should not be made available in Quebec, said the Assembly of Quebec Bishops in a statement Sept. 16. The bishops issued the statement after Quebec’s Ministry of Health announced Sept. 10 that it hopes a newly trained doctor will set up a practice in the province and provide late-term abortions next year.
The procedure, which entails aborting a child after 22 weeks gestation, is one, which Canadian doctors have avoided for ethical reasons. Up until now, Canadian women have been traveling to Kansas, Colorado or Washington to obtain late-term abortions, and the various provincial governments have been paying for it at a cost of $5,000 US per woman. Last year, 30 Quebec women obtained late-term abortions in the U.S.
In its statement, the Assembly of Quebec Bishops (AEQ) noted the absence of an abortion law in Canada. “This judicial void is not synonymous with an ethical void, for all our actions have ethical significance. Abortion illustrates this well,” reads the AEQ statement.
The bishops underlined that most countries recognize the need to protect embryos and have enacted legislation that bans the creation of human embryos for research purposes. They also pointed out the apparent contradiction in Canadian law, which recognizes the need to protect the human embryo regarding reproductive technologies and yet allows for abortion.
The Quebec bishops said there is a need to develop a mentality that favors adoption rather than abortion in the province. They issued an invitation to all Christian communities to develop alternatives to abortion, such as counseling and adoption services, and help-centres for pregnant women. They also urged educators to teach values and the importance of the meaning of life.
About 106,000 abortions are performed each year in Canada, 31,000 of them in Quebec.