The facts: 

Why are Canadians paying for abortion-on-demand?

Every year, Canadian taxpayers spend millions of dollars on abortion services.

  • Abortion should be de-insured because most abortions are done for socio-economic reasons. 
  • Polls consistently show that the majority of Canadians support de-insuring abortions.
  • The College of Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario sponsored a study of 41,039 women during the three month period after abortion and found that hospital patients had a more than four times higher rate of hospitalizations for infections, a five times higher rate of surgical events and a nearly five times higher rate of hospitalization for psychiatric problems than the matching group of women who had not had abortions. (Ostbye T, Wenghofer EF, Woodward CA, Gold G, Craighead J. Health services utilization after induced abortions in Ontario: a comparison between community clinics and hospitals. American Journal of Medical Quality 2001;16(3):99-106)

MYTH: The Canada Health Act requires provinces to pay for abortions.

FACT: The Canada Health Act says that provinces must fund medically necessary services. The act does not mention abortion or any other services as being medically necessary. On March 8, 2001, Health Canada stated in a letter, “This is further to your request under the Access to Information Act, dated August 1, 2000, for: Documents, reports & correspondence in the department that provide evidence that abortions are medically necessary.” I regret to inform you that after a thorough search of all likely record holdings, departmental officials have confirmed that they have no records relevant to your request.” (M. Snider, Assistant Coordinator.) For more information on the Canada Health Act:

MYTH: The federal government provides the provinces with a list of medically necessary services that they must fund.

FACT: Provinces decide what services are medically necessary and will therefore be funded through the health care system. The Senate Standing Committee on Social Affairs, headed by Liberal Senator Michael Kirby, stated in its interim report, dated March 2001, that “the determination of what services meet the requirement of medical necessity is made in each province by the provincial government in conjunction with the medical profession.” Does the College of Physicians and Surgeons decide? In a CBK Radio Noon Edition program, July 28, 1991, hosted by Barry Burgess, Dr. Doug Geekie, Director of Communications of the Canadian Medical Association said in the interview: “It is the responsibility and the authority of the province, exclusively to determine what services will be insured.”

MYTH: The Supreme Court has said abortions must be paid for by taxpayers.

FACT: There has not been a court ruling on who should pay for abortions. No Court has ever ordered taxpayers to pay for abortion. Provincial governments decide which services will be funded. Edmonton lawyer Mark McCourt has compiled a summary of case law on abortion:

  •  R. v. Morgentaler {1988, SCC}
  •  B.C. Civil Liberties Association v. B.C. (A.G.) {1988, BCSC}
  •  Borowski v. Canada (A.G.) {1989, SCC}
  •  Tremblay v. Daigle {1989, SCC}
  •  Lexogest Inc. v. Manitoba (A.G.) {1993, Man.CA}
  •  R. v. Morgentaler {1993, SCC}
  •  Morgentaler v. New Brunswick (A.G.) {1995, NBCA}
  •  PEl (Minister of Health) v. Morgentaler {1996, PEICA}

“To conclude, the applicable case law divulges no legal impediments whatsoever to a decision by provincial governments to de-insure abortions that are elective and medically unnecessary (done for socio-economic reasons or as a means of birth control), or indeed, to de-insure all induced abortion services. In short, the jurisprudence appears clear that the courts cannot force provincial governments to tax-fund abortion services.” McCourt Law Offices, Edmonton, Alberta.

MYTH: Most abortions are done for medical reasons.

FACT: Almost all abortions are done because women ask for them, not because a doctor recommends them. Even abortion advocates admit that most abortions are done for personal reasons. The Canadian Abortion Rights Action League (CARAL) president, Marilyn Wilson, told a Commons Finance Committee on October 31, 2001, that women seek abortions,“…for socio-economic reasons. Sometimes it is a desire to complete their education and become financially independent. In many cases, couples with children wish to restrict their family size in order to provide adequate financial support.”  Dr. Marion Powell, once a leading abortion advocate in Ontario said that “Most women have abortions because they’re too young, too old, can’t afford to have another baby, are trying to finish school or are involved in a relationship that’s breaking up…” (as reported in the Medical Post of March 16, 1987).

So just how many abortions are we paying for?

  • In 2019, 83,756 abortions were reported in Canada by the Canadian Institute for Health Information. However, through a Freedom of Information Request, we learned that 18,278 abortions for the Province of Ontario were missing from the total. (1) 
  • 25.6% of hospital abortions in Canada (excluding Québec) in 2019 were performed on women who had at least one previous abortion.  (16% had one previous abortion and 9.6% had two or more.)
  • Abortions are most common among women 20 to 29 years old.

MYTH: Abortion is a procedure without complications.

FACT: Abortion has a number of complications and side effects both physical and psychological. As early as the late 70s, the Badgley Commission, appointed by the federal government, conducted two background papers that found women who had abortions were more likely to experience physical and mental health problems than women who carried their babies to term. Studies conducted around the world have found that induced abortion may increase a woman’s risk for breast cancer. In addition, there are complications such as excessive bleeding and perforated uterus. Abortion also increases the risk of subsequent premature and/or low birth weight births.

The information in this brochure was compiled by Alliance for Life Ontario. Updated by Action Life 2021.

(1) OHIP billing records- Freedom of Information request to Ontario Ministry of Health and long-term Care by Patricia Maloney – Run with Life blog March 23, 2021.