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Canadian Abortion Statistics

Facts and figures relating to the frequency of abortion in Canada.

Canadian Abortion Statistics: Facts and figures relating to the frequency of abortion in Canada.

Nationwide abortion statistics for Canada are available from the Canadian Institute for Health Information (CIHI). Roughly one-third of Canadian abortions take place in hospitals, which are bound by mandatory reporting requirements. The other two-thirds take place in abortion clinics, which are not required to report to CIHI. Though most clinics report total abortions, they do not include as much demographic data as the hospital reports. The following information has been gleaned from CIHI abortion data and Statistics Canada birth data to provide an overview of the frequency and demography of abortion in Canada.

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ANNUAL ABORTION STATISTICS

  • In 2015, approximately 100,104 abortions took place in Canada, down from 100,194 in 2014, and 102,446 in 2013.
    2015 2014 2013 2012 2011
    100,104 100,194 102,446 100,958 108,844
  • In 2015, approximately 20.4% of all Canadian pregnancies (excluding spontaneous miscarriages) ended in abortion. This is down from 20.6% in 2014, and 21.1% in 2013.*

    *CIHI abortion data is collected by calendar year. StatCan birth data is collected from July 1 to June 30. As such, annual abortion data is compared to birth data that was collected during the first six months of the calendar year and the last six months of the year before.

  • The highest number of reported abortions occurred in Ontario (39,679), Quebec (24,193), and Alberta (13,358). The fewest number of reported abortions occurred in Yukon (116), Nunavut (93), and Prince Edward Island (0).

WHO HAS ABORTIONS?

  • In 2015, 14.8% of Canadian abortions were performed on women of unknown age. Among the rest, 2.6% were performed on women aged 17 or younger, 55.6% were performed on women aged 18-29, and 41.8% were performed on women aged 30 or above.
    <17 years 18-24 years 25-29 years 30-34 years ≥35 years
    2.6% 27.9% 27.7% 21.5% 20.3%
  • In 2015, 46.6% of the abortions that took place in Canadian hospitals were performed on women who had never given birth and 63.2% were performed on women who had no prior abortions.

When do Abortions Occur?

  • Among abortions performed in hospitals, 19.2% were performed on babies of an unknown gestational age. Among the rest, 38.5% were performed at or before 8 weeks gestation, 45.7% were performed between 9-12 weeks of gestation, and 3.0% were performed at 21 weeks or later.*
    ≤8 wks 9-12 wks 13-16 wks 17-20 wks ≥21 wks
    38.5% 45.7% 8.3% 4.4% 3.0%

    *Gestational weeks are measured from the first day of the woman's last menstruation and not from the day of conception. Though it does not provide an accurate fetal age (which is roughly 2 weeks less than the gestational age), it is the simplest way for an OB/GYN to age a pregnancy since the day of conception is often not known. Hence, if an abortion occurs at 8 weeks gestation, it is actually aborting a 6 week embryo. The images on our Prenatal Development and Abortion Pictures pages are more precisely captioned with fetal ages in accordance with standard teaching texts on prenatal development.

HOW DO ABORTIONS OCCUR?

  • Approximately 68% of Canadian abortions are performed in abortion clinics. The rest are performed in hospitals.
  • Among abortions performed in Canadian hospitals, more than 95% are performed surgically.

ABORTIONS BY PROVINCE/TERRITORY

  • The table below indicates how many abortions took place in each province/territory based on both occurrence and residence. Since abortion clinics do not report a woman's area of residence, resident data is limited to those abortions that occurred in a hospital.
    Province/territory Abortions by Occurrence (2015) Abortions by Residence (2015)**
    Newfoundland and Labrador 1,019 164
    Prince Edward Island 0 120
    Nova Scotia 1,924 1,854
    New Brunswick* 676 622
    Quebec 24,193 8,384
    Ontario 39,679 10,317
    Manitoba 3,759 2,107
    Saskatchewan 1,855 1,866
    Alberta 13,358 1,917
    British Columbia 13,166 3,995
    Yukon 116 124
    Northwest Territories 266 217
    Nunavut 93 196

    *Abortion clinics in New Brunswick did not report abortion totals.
    **These numbers only include hospital abortions since abortion clinics did not report residence data.

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