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 2016, a reported 97,764 abortions took place in Canada, down from 100,104 in 2015 and 100,194 in 2014.
2020 2019 2018 2017 2016 2015 2014 2013 2012 2011 74,155 83,576 85,294 94,030 97,764 100,104 100,194 102,446 100,958 108,844
- In 2020, approximately 16.7% of all Canadian pregnancies (excluding spontaneous miscarriages) ended in abortion. This is down from 18.3% in 2019, 18.5% in 2018, and 19.8% in 2017..*
*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.
- In 2020, the highest number of reported abortions occurred in Quebec (21,815), Ontario (21,428), and Alberta (11,983). The fewest number of reported abortions occurred in Prince Edward Island (252), Yukon (82), and Nunavut (26).
WHO HAS ABORTIONS?
- In 2020, 11.8% of Canadian abortions were performed on women of unknown age. Among the rest, 2.3% were performed on women aged 17 or younger, 51.2% were performed on women aged 18-29, and 46.4% were performed on women aged 30 or above.
<17 years 18-24 years 25-29 years 30-34 years ≥35 years 2.3% 24.7% 26.5% 22.9% 23.6%
- In 2020, approximately 48% of the abortions that took place in Canadian hospitals were performed on women who had never given birth. Approximately 66% were performed on women who had no prior abortions.
When do Abortions Occur?
- Among abortions performed in hospitals in 2020, 23% were performed on babies of an unknown gestational age. Among the rest, 41.4% were performed at or before 8 weeks gestation, 35% were performed between 9-12 weeks of gestation, and 5.7% were performed at 21 weeks or later.*
≤8 wks 9-12 wks 13-16 wks 17-20 wks ≥21 wks 41.4% 35.1% 11.2% 6.6% 5.7%
*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 DOES ABORTION TAKE PLACE?
- In 2020, approximately 71% of Canadian abortions were performed in abortion clinics. The rest were performed in hospitals.
- Among 2020 abortions performed in Canadian hospitals, approximately 89% were 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 (2020) Abortions by Residence (2020)** Newfoundland and Labrador 891 71 Prince Edward Island 252 245 Nova Scotia 1,209 1,200 New Brunswick* 495 493 Quebec 21,815 7,040 Ontario 21,428 5,950 Manitoba 2,196 1,181 Saskatchewan 1,639 1,334 Alberta 11,983 1,076 British Columbia 11,934 2,837 Yukon 82 98 Northwest Territories 205 170 Nunavut 26 10
*Abortion clinics in New Brunswick did not report abortion totals.
**These numbers only include hospital abortions since abortion clinics did not report residence data.
This page was last updated on July 08, 2022. To cite this page in a research paper, visit: "Citing Abort73 as a Source."