For a third year in a row Canada's fertility rate has dropped.
Statistics Canada reports that the national average has gone from 1.68 to 1.61 over the three year beginning in 2008.
I reproduce a copy of the statistics below.
A couple things caught my attention.
- The stability of the figures. Whether viewed provincially or federally, over the five years of the figures, the percentage difference between high and low figures is under 10% over the indicated years.
- Below replacement rate. With the exception of one region, the fertility rate falls beneath the generally accepted population replacement level of roughly 2.1 children per woman.
For an accompanying story from Postmedia, click here.
There is cause for rejoicing in a report about trends in abortions in New Zealand.
Michelle Kaufman reports that abortions have declined for the 5th consecutive year in that southern country and that numbers are the lowest since 1995.
Yet, the story tempers our joy as little is known about chemical abortions - i.e., abortions after fertilization but before surgical abortion.
Further statistics will found in this article.
In September, 2008, the Conseil pour le statut de la femme deposited a study1 shedding light on the availability of abortions in the province. We, at the Quebec Life Coalition, thought it worthwhile to highlight some of its findings and to point out its lacunae.
First, let’s look at the statistical information as found in the first of the study’s four chapters. The wealth of data, presented in tabular form, principally covers 2006, though contrast is done with the previous four years. These tables describe the distribution of abortions according to sixteen regions of the province, according to the type of facility where the abortions were performed, according to both the kind of procedure used and the age of the recipients, and more. For example, the following notes some of the numbers:
- Abortions – yearly, province-wide: 28 198 2
- Abortions – daily average: 80
- Abortions – daily average, Montreal: 30
- Number of abortion facilities in Montreal: 20
- Percentage 1st trimester abortions – prior to 14th week: 92 %
- Percentage of late-term abortions: 8% (2256)
- Percentage of abortions in women (15-34 years): 80%
Note that these figures are on the underside. The study’s author lamented that the statistical information was drawn from the record keeping branch of the provincial health agency – i.e., la Régie de l’assurance maladie du Québec – RAMQ. As this latter is primary interested with health care, their record keeping plays second fiddle. « …l’Institut de la statistique du Québec estime, dans une de ses études, que l’écart entre le nombre réel d’avortements pratiqués et celui qui est comptabilisé s’établit à 6 % .»3 Hence, we may be looking at another 1700 abortions per year in Québec.
A second troublesome point concerns repeated abortions. These latter are understood to mean when two or more abortions occur within the past five years. The author rightly points out the strong link between repeated abortions and violence done to women – whether psychological, sexual, or physical. Yet, as this study purports to be for the province of Québec, no data for the province is given, but only that for Canada in general, the United States, and France. Hence, an important lacuna exists.4
2. Ibid., p. 3.
3. Ibid., p. 13.
4. Ibid., p. 18-19.