In 2019, the latest year on record, 83,576 abortions were performed on Canadian women as reported by hospitals and clinics.

According to The Canadian Institute for Health Information (CIHI), who have taken over the role of disseminating abortion data from Statistics Canada, this number does not include abortions performed in clinics nation-wide. Hospitals are mandated by their provincial/territorial ministry of health to report all hospital activity (not limited to abortions); therefore, coverage of abortions performed in Canadian hospitals can be considered complete. However, there is no such legislative requirement for clinics to report their activity (reporting is voluntary).

Quebec, clinic data for British Columbia is incomplete due to voluntary reporting, and abortions performed on women who reside outside Ontario but who have received an abortion in an Ontario clinic are not included.

This means that the actual number of abortions, while unknown, is much higher than what is being reported.

Even with underreported and underrepresented figures, it is clear that more than three million abortions have occurred in Canada since 1969, when abortion was first decriminalized. Statistics Canada tables show a recorded total of 2,838,328 abortions between 1974 and 2006. CIHI tables show a recorded total of 353,034 abortions between 2007 and 2010, which means that the total number of “reported” abortions that took place between 1974 and 2010 in Canada is 3,191,362.

Induced abortion is defined as the medical termination of pregnancy. Equivalent terms include artificial abortion, therapeutic abortion, voluntary termination of pregnancy, elective termination of pregnancy and active termination of pregnancy.

CANADIAN INSTITUTE FOR HEALTH INFORMATION VS FREEDOM OF INFORMATION REQUEST DATA FOR 2019 ABORTION RATES IN ONTARIO

The Canadian Insititute for Health Information reported 27,911 abortions in the province of Ontario in 2019. However, a freedom of information (FOI) request found that the Ontario Ministry of Health and Long Term Care had reported 46,189 abortions (which is more in keeping with previous years’ statistics). This means that there was a discrepancy in the reporting of 18,278 abortions that were NOT reported by CIHI.

 Ontario CIHI
2014/201545,573201423,746
2015/201644,430201539,679
2016/201744,109201638,383
2017/201842,838201735,587
2018/201944,841201829,513
2019/202046,189201927,911

For more information on the discrepancy in reporting go here. (http://run-with-life.blogspot.com/2021/03/cihi-is-still-underreporting-abortions.html)

TOTAL ABORTION NUMBERS

More than one million abortions (1,000,573) were performed between 1974 and 1987. In 1988, the Supreme Court of Canada struck down all remaining restrictions on abortion. Statistics Canada recorded 72,693 abortions in 1988.

That number jumped 27.8% over the next two years to 92,901 in 1990. By 1992 it had risen to 102,085, a 40.4% increase in four years. Abortions continued to increase annually to a recorded high of 111, 526 in 1997—in the nine years following the Supreme Court decision, the number of abortions in Canada increased by a total of 53.4%.

Between 1988 and 2010, over two million more babies (2,263,482) lost their lives to abortion. The recorded total from Statistics Canada (1988-2006) is 1,910,448, and the recorded total from CIHI (2007-2010) is 353,034.

This is a partial record which excludes roughly 10% of the actual number of abortions performed between 2000 and 2006 due to incomplete reporting, and the figures from between 2007 and 2010 are limited by a lack of data, particularly with regard to Quebec, as mentioned above. After 1997 the number of reported abortions gradually dropped back down to 97,254 in 2005. Because the 1988 court decision also struck down reporting requirements, it is difficult to know how accurate the figures are.

Table detailing the total number of reported abortions in Canada by year from 1974 to 2010 (Click here for a pdf of this table):

YearNumber of Abortions in Canada
197452,435
197553,705
197658,712
197759,864
197866,710
197969,745
198072,099
198171,911
198275,071
198369,368
198469,449
198569,216
198669,572
198770,023
198872,693
198979,315
199092,901
199195,059
1992102,085
1993104,403
1994106,255
1995108,208
1996111,456
1997111,526
1998110,223
1999105,631
2000105,454
2001106,323
2002105,383
2003104,099
2004100,763
200597,254
200691,377
200798,762
200895,876
200993,755
201064,641

Note: For the year 2010 the figures exclude Quebec. Prince Edward Island does not perform abortions. Clinic data for British Columbia is incomplete, and data on abortions performed in Ontario clinics on Canadian women who are not Ontario residents is not included.

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Sources:

For years 1974-1995: Statistics Canada, “Table 106-9034: Induced abortions, by age group, Canada, provinces and territories”, Statistics Canada, 2008.

For years 1996-2005: Statistics Canada,“Induced Abortion Statistics 2005”, Statistics Canada

For 2006: Statistics Canada, “Table 106-9005: Induced abortions in hospitals and clinics, by area of report and type of facility performing the abortion, Canada, provinces and territories”, Statistics Canada, 2009.

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