In Canada, babies who survive abortion and are left to die are given birth and death certificates

By Jonathon Van Maren

It is a matter of fact that sometimes, babies that are being aborted manage to survive and are born alive—and that when this happens, they are often left to die. I have interviewed both survivors of abortion who are part of a miniscule number of people who survived a procedure specifically designed to kill them, as well as medical professionals who tended to the aborted babies as they fought for each breath before expiring—slightly off-schedule, but dead as planned nonetheless. Earlier this week, I reported on the heartbreaking story of an aborted baby who passed away sobbing in his mother’s arms, and in August I noted my friend Pat Maloney’s discovery that in Canada during a five year period, 766 babies were born alive and left to die.

Abortion activists rarely make a peep when stories like this surface, because it draws attention to the inconvenient fact that abortion is the act of killing someone, and that occasionally, when that killing is done incompetently or the procedure is bungled in some way, the baby that is being killed shows up just long enough to remind everyone that abortion is barbaric. When Maloney released her findings on the 766 babies that had died of “live birth abortions,” the news came and went without a ripple. But several years ago, the National Post did take the time to research this topic in response to an earlier investigation Maloney had done that revealed 491 babies being born alive and left to die after abortions. They titled their investigation “Birth of a legal quandary: Live-birth abortions a perilous grey zone in Canada’s criminal code.” Some relevant excerpts:

The MPs [requesting an investigation] are right about the fact that between 2000 and 2009, 491 aborted fetuses indeed exhibited “evidence of life” following their removal from the womb — be it a momentary heartbeat, a sudden gasp or, in rare cases, crying. But, while the statistic may speak to one of the most uncomfortable grey areas of Canadian law, doctors say that it is too much to assume that this represents the killing of otherwise healthy babies that the MPs allege.

Take note here of the language being used: There is no denial that babies are being killed here, only that most of these babies were presumably not “otherwise healthy.”

“It’s not 491 babies left screaming in bedpans, trust me,” said a veteran obstetrician who preferred to remain anonymous.…Even a fetus that has “absolutely no chance of survival” — say, because it is aborted too early in the pregnancy, or because of severe developmental or genetic problems — may be deemed as “live-born” if it exhibits a heartbeat or signs of motion, Dr. Douglas Black, president of the Society of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists, said in an interview conducted before the MPs’ letter was released. “Then they are subsequently allowed to pass away, depending on what the circumstances are, sometimes in their mom’s arms,” he said.

In one example, a woman undergoes an abortion at 23 weeks after her fetus is diagnosed with fetal anencephaly, a genetic condition in which the fetus fails to develop a brain. “Fetus was born alive and survived for one hour,” reads the description.

In the vast majority of Canadian abortions, the fetus does not receive any documentation, since it is deemed to be bodily discharge. One of the most standard methods, pioneered by Henry Morgentaler, involves using a small medical vacuum to suction out the contents of the uterus. As it is only conducted during the first trimester, it is performed far too early for the fetus to show any vital signs after separation from its mother.

As the pregnancy progresses beyond the first trimester, the procedure becomes more complicated. After a certain period, the fetus becomes too large to be suctioned out and must be removed by inducing labour and extracting it through the birth canal.

In most of these cases, the fetus emerges with no signs of life. And if it’s more than 20 weeks old, Statistics Canada counts it as a stillbirth. Any younger than that and it remains undocumented as bodily discharge. Where the statistic cited by the MPs comes in — the 491 fetuses — is where a fetus shows any “evidence of life,” no matter how briefly, following separation from the mother. In those cases, reporting standards call for medical personnel to report that a “live birth” has occurred and issue the fetus with a birth and death certificate.

Evidence of life can include “beating of the heart, pulsation of the umbilical cord, or definite movement of voluntary muscles,” explains the official Statistics Canada classification. The subjectiveness of the classification is known to cause bedside arguments among medical staff over whether a live birth certificate is necessary…But live-born fetuses can pose a massive legal headache for hospitals, as a fetus is indeed considered a legal human being “when it has completely proceeded, in a living state, from the body of its mother,” according to the criminal code. In those cases, doctors “have a duty to do the best [they] can for what is now a person in the eyes of the law,” said Dr. Eike-Henner Kluge, former director of ethics and legal affairs for the Canadian Medical Association.

In most of the 491 cases, however, this duty would likely extend only to keeping the fetus comfortable and free of pain for the few minutes until it dies…Nevertheless, given the legal complexities surrounding a live birth, Dr. Kluge questioned why any doctor would allow a fetus to emerge alive from the womb, saying it is likely due to “professional failure.”

Requiring medical staff to examine a fetus for vital signs — even when medical intervention could not possibly ensure its survival — is the bizarre consequence of the fact that, ungoverned by a legal framework for abortions, Canadian fetuses exist in a legal no-man’s-land between birth and death.

Throughout the Post investigation, language is used to hide what is actually taking place. “Fetus” is used to make it seem as if the baby is some creature of another species, which is why the baby is also referred to as an “it.” In reality, of course, we are speaking of an unwanted son or daughter killed by a medical professional—the word “fetus” itself is simply Latin for “young one.” A photo of one of these children would immediately dispel any notion that these practices are sane, civilized, or moral.

Babies who survive the initial abortion attempt and are left to die are the abortion industry’s dirty little secret. They constitute a “complication” to the abortion procedure because they live too long. Their little spasms of life that show us that we have become a cruel society, and challenge us to remember their humanity—and to try and recover our own.


For anyone interested, my book on The Culture War, which analyzes the journey our culture has taken from the way it was to the way it is and examines the Sexual Revolution, hook-up culture, the rise of the porn plague, abortion, commodity culture, euthanasia, and the gay rights movement, is available for sale here.

13 thoughts on “In Canada, babies who survive abortion and are left to die are given birth and death certificates

  1. Allison B says:

    Thank you for explaining the TRUTH. All of Canada should hate it’s actions of the past century against our most vulnerable citizens!! I believe there is only one single political matter at this time. No other issue of today comes close to the urgent action needed to stop this warfare and bloodshed against our most innocent Canadian neighbours!!

    • Katie B. says:

      Sure, and while you’re at it, you can create a petition for government to stop spending $15 billion dollars a year on alcohol related health costs, lost productivity, Justice costs, and more, and to preventing the 1,250 and 1,500 people who are killed every year, and the more than 63,000 injured each year in Canada in impairment-related crashes.

      What about the wasted hospital resources, especially in the ER, on individuals who are found passed out drunk, and brought in to ER’s, using up vital spaces that could be better utilized by those who are genuinely ill, or injured.

      “Researchers at the Institute for Clinical Evaluative Sciences, The Ottawa Hospital, the Bruyère Research Institute and the University of Ottawa sifted through 2003-2016 hospital administrative data from across the province. In that time, there were more than 765,000 emergency room visits in Ontario attributable to alcohol. The rate of alcohol-related emergency department visits increased 4.4 times more than the rate of overall visits.

      The top reason for alcohol-related ER visits was intoxication, accounting for 44.6 per cent of visits, followed by harmful use at 21.4 per cent of visits, withdrawal at 11.4 per cent and alcohol dependence at 10.9 per cent. Alcohol-related ER visits peaked for women around legal drinking age. For men, it was in their early 50s.”

      You’re so hell bent on focusing on a very small number of fetuses that were “born alive“, that you can’t be bothered to look at the facts behind them, such as a single heartbeat, and nothing else, an involuntary muscle movement, and nothing more, or that the mother chose, and/or agreed with doctors, to provide only comfort care, meaning swaddling the fetuses while it’s being held by the mother until it passes away.

      Parents, unless you want that right taken away as well, have a legal right to decide what care, if any, or extraordinary measures, if any, they might want, or wish, for their brain dead child, one in a persistent vegetative state, or one with another disability/disease, where prolonging its life would only result in further suffering. Doctors as well, have a right to make a judgement call, based on their vast medical experience and education, in conjunction with the parents. Nowhere in any of those decisions, are people like yourself, invited to, required to, or even permitted to, weigh in, because it’s none of your business.

  2. Anne says:

    I read this article out of Curiosity. This article greatly up sets me, not because of a fetus being so called “left to die” but because of the shame it cast upon women who have had to make this unfortunately choice. Reading the comments makes me feel sad to be Canadian! How dare any of you try to take away the right a women has to make her own choices when it comes to HER body! You can be pro life for yourself but don’t you dare try to make other women feel ashamed of their choices! You don’t have to support another person’s opinion just accept that they are different from you and that’s okay!

    I am one of these women you are shaming! It is not an easy choice to make, its heart breaking. Sure, you could say “why didn’t you choose to put it up for adoption if you didn’t want it?” I heard multiple stories of children being adopted and were beaten to death or tortured, I wasn’t going to let that happen. So I made the choice to terminate my unplanned pregnancy, and only I have to live with that choice. Based on my religion all beings of life go to heaven before they learn right from wrong. I believe my fetus is in a more wonderful place then I could have ever given it.

    My point is, don’t try to take away someone’s right to their body because you don’t agree with it. There are a lot of reasons to get an abortion then just an “unwanted child”. Think of how you would feel if one of your rights were taken away.

    • Jonathon Van Maren says:

      When we are talking about a pre-born child in the womb, we are talking about the separate body of a separate human being.

    • sue lakes cook says:

      once she becomes pregnant I fail to see why a woman can claim “its my body and I can do what I want with it” It was also her body before she got pregnant so why did she not honor it enough to take preoccupations so she would not get pregnant – that fetus is a live thing and so his the male that provided the sperm

      • Katie B. says:

        In case you’re unaware of this, everyone, including children, has the right to autonomy and self-determination over their own body, and the only person with the right to make a decision about one’s body is oneself—no one else.

        You can’t start limiting or restricting that right, just because you want to give fetuses rights. The minute you start down that road, you open it up to another group, be it “pro-life”, or “pro-patient”, and having them fight for laws to force everyone to submit their DNA, and then force compatible persons, to donate blood, tissue, an organ (kidney or liver), or bone marrow even, to another person, a stranger mind you, in order to save their lives.

        What about their lost time from work? What about them being left bedridden or disabled afterward? What about the potential for infections? Reactions to anaesthetic or drugs? Risk of death? Factoring in existing health or mental health issues? Or any number of other issues we might not even be aware of. We might as well mandate organ donation after death, I mean, a person is dead or brain dead, and they don’t need it?

        Those are the same things we disregard when a woman becomes pregnant, all because of a fetuses supposed rights because it’s a living thing. Aren’t people living beings, yet we don’t force others to donate to keep them alive, now do we?

        As for honouring their body, did you know that half the women who got an abortion last year, were using contraception?

        Lastly, consenting to sex, casual or not, is not consenting to pregnancy.

  3. Joy says:

    Jonathan, I think we’re focusing on the wrong sex if we’re ever going to stop abortions – and most women who have had abortions don’t want this experience. It’s a mystery to me how the media constantly focuses on how women who do have abortions as being evil. They’re not. Almost ALL of them would rather not have been forced into making this difficult and painful decision. But it’s one that they make nonetheless due to enormous economic, physical and social pressure.

    If our society REALLY wanted to eliminate abortion, we should be focusing on men. Why? Well, one man could have sex with a woman every day of the year and potentially be a father to 365 babies. He could have sex multiple times a day and have even more. Heck, some men who are addicted to porn will ejaculate many times a day. So, he’s potentially a baby-making machine. Yay for him!!! Not so good for the women who get pregnant by him.

    Even if every single one of those women were taking birth control, no birth control is 100% effective. Even if he’s raping a woman every day, so she may not have planned to get pregnant (30,000 women a year get pregnant from rape in the US alone). She may not be allowed to take the most effective type of birth control due to medical complications, so tries for the next best thing, and gets pregnant. There are so many circumstances which affect a woman who experiences an unwanted pregnancy.

    So, if you REALLY are serious about eliminating women’s voice in the matter when it comes to dealing with the difficult issue of abortion please consider starting a campaign for men to get a vasectomy. Yay!!! They can have as much sex as they want! They won’t have to be afraid that some woman will come after him for child support (one of the many reasons why women abort – they’re pressured into it by their partners). Men won’t have to worry about having to wear condoms (because of course HIS pleasure is more important that HER risk of pregnancy) and they won’t have to worry when they’re ready to have children because they can easily freeze their sperm AND reverse their vasectomy when they’re ready to be a responsible parent. It’s a WIN-WIN for everyone! Men get to have sex. Women don’t have unwanted pregnancies and best of all abortions are completely a thing of the past! Hooray!

    BTW, this is not my idea. Gabrielle Blair – a Mormon mother of six – explains in much greater detail:

    So, send me a quick email and I’ll help you get started. I can’t wait for abortion to be eliminated! Every baby a wanted baby. Every parent a willing parent. Sounds heavenly to me! How about you?

    • Jonathon Van Maren says:

      I’m a Millenial, not that I’m particularly proud of it. The primary failure of the Boomers was in the raising of their children, as evidenced by what those children use as arguments (for starters.).

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