The Canadian Institute for Health Information reported that there were 93,755 abortions in Canada in 2009. Note that abortion statistics for 2009 are incomplete as clinic data for British Columbia is incomplete. CIHI notes that there is no legislative requirement for clinics to report their activity while “hospitals are mandated by their provincial/territorial ministry of health to report all hospital activity (not limited to abortion).”
The actual number of abortions in Canada is higher than reported. Abortions performed in doctors’ offices or clinics that are not licensed are not included in the statistics. Richard Trudeau, director of health statistics at Statistics Canada said in 2008 that “there’s more and more literature to indicate that there might be abortions performed in physicians’ offices, and those we’re unable to monitor.” These could number in the thousands according to one abortion doctor. (1)
From the incomplete data obtained by CIHI, we know:
Clinics: The number of clinic abortions reported was 52,115 and these clinic abortions accounted for 55.6 % of abortions performed in 2009. Ontario reported 17,352 clinic abortions which accounts for 33.29% of clinic abortions in Canada. As of 1999, the Ontario Ministry of Health and Long Term Care no longer maintains a system for the collection of detailed information on abortions performed in Ontario clinics but instead uses the billing system of the Ontario Health Insurance Plan (OHIP) to provide counts of clinic abortions to CIHI. This means that information is no longer available for clinic abortions performed on non-residents of Ontario or on Ontario residents who do not submit a claim to OHIP. Therefore these abortions are not counted in the Ontario clinic numbers.
Quebec hospitals and clinics also report only induced abortions covered by their provincial insurance plan. All other provinces/territories (including Ontario hospital data) include in their data all induced abortions even if paid for by the patient or another health insurance plan.
Overall, clinic information is not available for the following demographic and medical case data: gestational age of the child, previous induced abortions, previous deliveries, method of abortion and complications. Some clinics did provide data for the age of the mother.
Hospitals: The number of hospital abortions reported was 41,640 and these hospital abortions accounted for 44.4% of abortions performed in 2009. Hospitals in Quebec no longer fully report items such as: age of the mother, previous deliveries if any, number of previous abortions, gestational age of the child at the time of abortion, nature of the abortion procedure and complications.
Detailed records are available for less than 24,000 hospital abortions out of 41, 640.
Previous induced abortion: Based on incomplete hospital data (excludes the 12,826 Quebec hospital abortions), 30.7% of hospital abortions were performed on women who had at least one previous abortion. CIHI says that “information on the number of previous induced abortions is not available from clinic data or from Quebec data.”
Age of the mother: 47% of hospital abortions were performed on women in their twenties. 25,210 abortions were performed on women aged 20 to 24 years old. 19, 053 were performed on women aged 25 to 29 years old.
Gestational age of the child: From incomplete hospital data (excludes the 12,826 Quebec hospital abortions), we find information concerning gestational age for 23,686 abortions. Of those 23,686 hospital abortions, 552 are listed after 21 weeks. 951 hospital abortions were performed from 17 to 20 weeks. The gestational age is unknown for another 5, 128 hospital abortions.
29.0% of hospital abortions were performed at 8weeks and under.
41.2% were performed at 9 to 12 weeks.
6.8% were performed at 13 to 16 weeks.
In summary, the gestational age is unknown for 70,069 abortions (52,115 clinic abortions and 17,954 hospital abortions).
It is becoming increasingly difficult to formulate a complete profile of the women who undergo the abortion procedure because of incomplete and missing demographic and medical case data.
There are no legal restrictions on abortion in Canada which means that abortions can be performed at any stage for any reason.
Between 1970 and 2009, Canada has sanctioned the deaths of nearly 3,300,000 babies awaiting birth.
Mick, Hayley. Abortion rate keeps dropping. Globe and Mail, May 22, 2008.