Abortion Myth #9
There are virtually no late-term abortions in Canada.

Abortion Facts
Abortion is permitted at any stage of pregnancy in Canada. When the Supreme Court of Canada struck down Canada's abortion law in 1988, it also removed reporting requirements making statistics hard to come by. (1) As a result, detailed information is not available for more than half of the abortions performed.

According to the Canadian Medical Association, a child is viable after 20 weeks gestation.(2)

Margaret Somerville, a prominent ethicist at McGill University, recently surveyed available statistics on Canadian abortions. She discovered that "it's known that at least 400 post-viability abortions take place in Canada each year and the actual number is most probably more than twice that."(3) Statistics Canada, which claims that "providing statistics is a federal responsibility," told Somerville when she inquired about late-term abortion numbers that, "they were instructed for political reasons not to collect statistics on the gestational age at which abortion occurs". However, they explained that "hospitals must report the number of abortions and about 45 per cent had continued to report gestational age."

Statistics Canada reported in 2005 that at least 534 abortions were performed after 20 weeks. Since the gestational age is reported by less than half of hospitals and clinics, the number of post-viability abortions is likely doubled.

In 2003-4, Ontario paid for 56 "out of country" late-term abortions. The total cost to Ontario taxpayers for those abortions was $397,514. Between 2002-2003, British Columbia paid for 54 out of country late-term abortions. The cost was approximately $2,800 per procedure.(4)

According to Ainsley Jenicek of the Quebec Federation of Birth Planning, Quebec leads all other provinces when it comes to access to abortions, even controversial late-term abortions. At least one Quebec clinic performs them up to 24 weeks. Beyond that, abortions of 32 and 34 weeks gestation have been reported in the province. There are about 29,000 abortions each year in Quebec. About one in three Quebec women will have an abortion in her life.(5)

(1) Joanne Byfield, ''Has Abortion Gone Too Far and the Debate Been Too Little?'', Calgary Herald, January 28, 2008.
(2) CMA Policy Induced Abortion, www.cma.ca, December 1988
(3) Margaret Somerville, ''Busting the abortion myths,'' Montreal Gazette, June 2, 2010.
(4) Barbara McAdorey, ''Growing concern over late abortions on Canadian women,'' Life Canada News, September/October 2004.
(5) Andrew Chung, ''Quebec politicians unite to criticize Harper on abortion,'' www.thestar.com , May 19, 2010