So I have been busy doing some historical research. I just got back a paper I wrote on fetal imagery—specifically Lennart Nilsson’s photoessay in an April 1965 issue of Life magazine. One thing that I learned that was very surprising to me was the degree to which pregnancy—and by extension the unborn—had little visual presence in the first half of the twentieth century. I was very surprised when I realized the degree to which all things having to do with pregnancy was shrouded in secrecy. Two examples to illustrate:
Wednesday, November 01, 2017
Saturday, September 30, 2017
A new Civil Code goes into effect October 1, 2017 in China.
In this new civil code, the unborn will, for legal purposes, be counted as born for purposes of succession and gifts. However, there's a catch: they must not be born dead. Still, the Chinese code is a step above the Canadian system.
In Canada, the unborn must be born first before they can legally recognized for events that occurred before their birth. This is known as the "born-alive rule." This is not the case in China. In China an unborn baby may inherit and would be considered the legal heir throughout the pregnancy, so long as he does not die. If he dies before birth, he loses his legal rights. I suppose this was done to protect the legality of abortion.
Wednesday, June 28, 2017
In the 1930's, 1940's and 1950's anatomist Davenport Hooker filmed a number of fetuses produced from induced and spontaneous abortions to document fetal behaviour. They were aged between 8.5 and 14 weeks (LMP). It represents the first time in history that the unborn were seen on film. They were dying of course, but they were not quite dead when Hooker had them poked and prodded for science. The explanations in the video are little bit tedious, but the images are well worth waiting for (they start at about the three minute mark.) I would not put too much stock in the menstrual age-- it can be unreliable. I was especially struck by the older children, and how bothered they seemed to be by the needle.
Monday, June 12, 2017
Paola Zacchia (1584-1659) was a well-respected Roman medical expert. Three times he was named Proto-physician – 1638, 1658 and 1659. He was effectively the “Surgeon-General” of the Holy See, supervising all things medical in the papal states. Between 1621 and 1650 he published his most famous work Quaestiones Medico-Legales, a compendium of medical-legal knowledge, covering a vast array of subjects. It was published in three tomes that in total contained nine books. It as a mammoth work of reference, and as soon as the first book was published in 1621, it was an international best-seller—translated into a number of languages and re-printed in several editions right into the eighteenth century. It has earned him the title of Father of Forensic Medicine.
This background information is important to know, because his words would be highly influential on a host of subjects, including abortion.
Friday, June 09, 2017
Way to go Pat Maloney and ARPA Canada for their hard work!
An Ontario Court has struck down the statute that prohibited the public from obtaining abortion stats by access to information requests.
It's only been two hours since I have received the news, and I have no information as to whether the government will appeal. Indeed, the media has not reported on it yet. I would somewhat surprised if there was nothing about this in the media.
If this ruling is not appealed, it will allow all Ontarians-- both those for and against abortion to be able to obtain useful information for public discussion.
Everybody should support this court ruling.
This opens the door to more detailed access to information requests. Indeed, I think the statute was written in response to Pat's requests. The government wants to keep the situation on abortion a secret.
Gestational ages, the birth outcomes of late-term abortion victims, i.e. whether they lived or died, these are all salient features about abortion that the public has the right to know.
I would encourage activists in all provinces and territories to make their own requests. This has been a viable avenue of activism.