In the week since Prolife NZ launched their Right to Know campaign, online and at university campuses around New Zealand, they have been accused, by a small but vocal band of ardent pro-choice activists, of scaremongering and spreading misinformation. These activists have suggested that NZ women are more than adequately informed about abortion risks, and that the Right to Know campaign presented misleading information about the risk factors associated with abortion.
But then, just two days ago, an article was published in the online NZ magazine Werewolf (an off-shoot of the popular scoop.co.nz news site) which proved exactly why Prolife NZ was right to state in its Right to Know campaign that NZ women are not being provided with all of the facts about abortion.
This article is a lengthy pro-abortion advocacy/lobby piece calling for, among other things, the increased availability of medical abortions in NZ using the drug Mifegyne (also known as RU 486 and mifepristone).
It was written by Alison McCulloch, who is not only a self-described “active member” of the Abortion Law Reform Association of New Zealand (ALRANZ), but she has also acted as an official spokesperson for them in the NZ media.
Now here’s the really important bit – not only does this article fail to inform its readers of some vitally important risk factors associated with Mifegyne medical abortions, but it actually quotes abortionist and militant pro-abortion activist Rebecca Gomperts when it states (emphasis added):
“There are more men dying from using Viagra than women using medical abortion. If you look at the rates, it’s more dangerous to use penicillin, it’s even more dangerous to use Paracetamol.” The spectre of danger that lurks around abortion is a social construct, a media construct, she says, “it’s not a reality”.
Firstly, this statement is completely illogical – it’s like saying “cyanide is more dangerous to ingest than arsenic, so therefore arsenic should be considered safe“. Gomperts compares abortion to completely different types of things and then tries to claim that data about these totally different things is pertinent to abortion.
The safety, or otherwise, of abortion has nothing to do with the safety, or otherwise, of other different procedures and products.
But more alarmingly than the terrible logical flaw in this statement is it’s completely incorrect claim that adverse outcomes and risks (“danger”) associated with abortion are not real, and are nothing more than a social and media construct. This statement is so alarmingly unscientific, and so totally false that labeling it ‘dangerously misleading’ could possibly be an understatement.
Rather than just throwing around unsubstantiated opinion, let’s do something that this article never did, and actually put some real facts about Mifegyne medical abortions on the table:
a. An “audit” of nearly 7000 abortions performed in South Australia in 2009 and 2010 found that Mifegyne medical abortions result in more complications for women than surgical abortions do. The research survey found that 3.3 per cent of women using Mifegyne had later turned up at emergency departments to seek treatment for problems, whereas only 2.2 per cent of women who had undergone surgical abortions had done so.
The survey also found that 5.7 per cent of women undergoing early medical abortions using Mifegyne had to be admitted to hospital for post-operative treatment, compared to only 0.4 per cent of women undergoing surgical abortions experiencing such outcomes.
b. Statistics released by the Therapeutic Goods Administration in Australia in October 2010 revealed that 110 cases of “adverse effects” were reported in 2009 by doctors authorised to prescribe Mifegyne in Australia. These adverse effects included the retention of placental remains and other “products of conception” (i.e. human fetal remains). These same Therapeutic Goods Administration statistics also revealed that there were another 14 Australian cases where RU486 had failed and subsequent surgical abortions had to be carried out to complete those botched Mifegyne medical abortions.
c. A report released by the US Food and Drug Administration in 2011 stated that the deaths of 14 US women are now associated with the use of Mifegyne, and there are 2,207 reports of adverse effects associated with it (including significant blood loss requiring transfusion, infections and “severe infections”)
d. Research carried out in England, by Teresa Kelly and colleagues at Newcastle University, followed 122 women who had either a surgical abortion or a Mifegyne medical abortion in the second trimester of pregnancy, and it revealed that the women who had participated in a Mifegyne medical abortion complained of more medical problems and more mental health issues following the use of Mifegyne, and the passing of the body of the dead baby, than woman who underwent surgical abortions. (Findings published in the obstetrics journal BJOG in 2011).
e. In may 2011, at the 21st European Congress of Clinical Microbiology and Infectious Diseases in Milan, it was announced that a 16-year old Portuguese female had died as a result of a septic shock caused by Clostridium Sordellii (an infection that until that point had only been diagnosed in abortion drug related deaths in the United States) after a Mifegyne medical abortion.
f. In March this year, the Australian Therapeutic Goods Administration confirmed that an Australian woman had died after getting a Mifegyne medical abortion at a Marie Stopes International Australia clinic (equivalent to the NZ Family Planning Association).
As I have already stated, not only does the Werewolf article, penned by an ALRANZ member and spokesperson, make absolutely no mention of these important facts about Mifegyne medical abortion, it actually uses a quote from a pro-abortion activist to tell readers that risks and harms associated with abortion are a fabricated media and social construct.
(Another statement made earlier in the Werewolf article also indicates that this same pro-abortion activist may have actually assisted people living here to violate important NZ safety laws which make it illegal to import pharmaceutical products into the country without official approval – if this is in fact the case, it should give us pause to seriously consider whether this activist actually has a proper concern for patient safety).
Isn’t it ironic that within just days of Prolife NZ being accused of engaging in trickery with their Right to Know campaign, this article is produced by a senior member of a pro-choice lobby group with close ties to at least some of the students making these accusations against Prolife NZ – an article which fails to include ALL of the important facts about Mifegyne medical abortion, and which makes the scientifically incorrect claim that there are no risks or harms associated with abortion.
This article has simply reinforced the accuracy and importance of the Right to Know campaign, and it’s claims regarding the lack of full disclosure to the NZ public about abortion facts.
I wonder how many of the same students who complained so vociferously about the Prolife NZ Right to Know campaign will now also be strongly voicing their concerns to ALRANZ about the totally misleading nature of this article – or whether ALRANZ is even concerned that such important facts were excluded from an article penned by one of their active members and spokespeople.