In April 1999, Marnie Ko at the B.C. Catholic wrote about a presentation by Vancouver doctor Jonathan Cope. She reports that he had  ” presented a paper called  “Late Term Abortion Techniques” at the University of British Columbia’s Medical Symposium on Abortion in 1997. He gave the following as reasons why women will have late term abortions:

“Women are awaiting results from genetic testing, women don’t know they are pregnant, women are abandoned by the father which is a common reason, particular areas (of British Columbia)give women difficulty getting referrals (for an abortion), (there is) fear of parental retribution, or that the husband (of the pregnant mother) wants a boy.”

The majority of these reasons are social not medical in nature. As concerns the reason that women are waiting for the results of genetic testing, it has been found that some parents who abort because the child has been diagnosed with a fetal anomaly, suffer from the psychological impact of the abortion long after.

The de Veber Institute for Bioethics and Social Research reported on such a study:

..research finds that 40% of women who abort for fetal abnormality suffer long term emotional distress. A leading authority writes that “Women 2-7 years after were expected to show a significant lower degree of traumatic experience and grief than women 14 days after termination… Contrary to hypothesis, however the results, showed no significant differences.”1

A life affirming option exists at perinatal hospices. The child can be carried to term and receive palliative care after birth. Parents who continue the pregnancy have the opportunity to spend time with their baby, no matter how short their life may be, a few hours, weeks or months. The parents are supported by a team of obstetricians, nurses, chaplains, neonatologists and social workers. The de Veber Institute mentions a study by Drs. Byron Cahloun and P. Napolito which found that “80% of parents who were provided with the option of perinatal care chose to carry their child to term. Parents who are offered support in continuing pregnancy and caring for their disabled child overwhelmingly choose to carry to term”, says the Institute.

  1. Kersting, A. et al. (2005) “Trauma and grief 2-7 years after termination of pregnancy because of fetal abnormalities”. Journal of Psychosoc Obstet & Gynae. V26, #1, 9-14.

      2. Calhoun,Bc, Napolito, P. et al. (2003) “Perinatal hospice: comprehensive care for the             family of the fetus with a lethal condition.” JReproMed. V48:343-348.