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Abortion FAQs

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Is abortion legal in Canada?

In 1969 abortion became legal when performed under certain circumstances. The Supreme Court of Canada found the regulation of abortion in the Criminal Code to be unconstitutional, and overturned the abortion law in 1988. There have been no federal restrictions on abortion since that time.

How much does an abortion cost?

Abortions at a hospital are free if they take place in your province of residence and you present your provincial health card. Abortions are also free at most clinics in Ontario, British Columbia, Newfoundland, Alberta, Quebec and Manitoba. At abortion clinics in other provinces, you must pay part of the cost.

Do I have to provide a reason for wanting an abortion?

No. You do not need to provide a reason for your decision, but you may be asked. You have the right to say that you do not wish to give a reason.

Is there a mandatory or required waiting period between seeing a counsellor and having an abortion?

No, not in Canada.

I’m under the age of 18, do I need parental consent to have an abortion?

There is currently no legislation regarding the age of consent for obtaining an abortion in Canada; however, many hospitals have their own internal policy regarding parental consent. Some hospitals require parental consent for any type of surgery performed on a young person. The age when parental consent is required varies. You can ask about the rules regarding parental consent at your local public health unit. Free-standing abortion clinics do not require a parent’s permission for an abortion, if it is clear that the youth understands what she is doing.

Can I keep my abortion confidential?

Yes. Hospitals, clinics, and health insurance plans are obligated to keep confidential the names of all women (including youth) who have abortions.

If I have an abortion, will it affect my chances of getting pregnant at a later date?

If an abortion is performed safely and competently, without complications there is no affect on your ability to have children in the future.[i] First trimester abortions pose very little risk and actually have a lower surgical complication rate than most other surgeries performed in Canada. According to Statistics Canada, less than 1% of abortions performed in 1995 had any sort of complication at all.[ii]

How soon is it possible to become pregnant after having an abortion?

Fertility returns very quickly after having an abortion, even before the next menstrual period. Usually, women are advised not to have intercourse for about two weeks after an abortion; however, in order not to get pregnant, you must use reliable contraception each time you have sex after an abortion.

I’m pregnant and want to terminate my pregnancy, but the father does not want me to, can he do anything legally to stop the abortion?

No, he cannot stop you from having an abortion. In 1989, the Supreme Court of Canada ruled that a woman's choice to terminate her pregnancy cannot be stopped legally by the biological father. The woman has the right to choose.

What is the abortion pill? Is it available in Canada?

In 1980, a French doctor developed a pill which is called RU486, Mifeprex, Mifepristone or Mifegyne, depending on the country it is marketed in. Because it stops the gestation of an early pregnancy, RU486 has frequently been termed an abortion pill. It can only be used within 49 to 63 days after a woman's last period. This pill is not available in Canada and is not expected to be available anytime soon.

Is the abortion pill available over the Internet?

There is no safe, legitimate source of the abortion pill on the Internet or by mail order.

Is any kind of abortion using drugs available in Canada?

Medical abortion uses the drugs methotrexate and misoprostol to induce an abortion. It only works for very early pregnancies – up to 49 days or fewer from the first day of the last menstrual period. Medical abortion may be available to you depending on where you live.


Updated July 17, 2008
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[i] Morgentaler Clinic Website http://www.morgentaler.ca/faq.asp

[ii] Morgentaler Clinic Website http://www.morgentaler.ca/faq.asp

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