Abortion in Canada is legal at all stages of pregnancy and is governed by the Canada Health Act. While some non-legal obstacles exist, Canada is one of only a few nations with no legal restrictions on abortion. Regulations and accessibility vary between provinces.
Early in Canadian history, all abortions were illegal. The Criminal Law Amendment Act, 1968-69 introduced by Pierre Trudeau’s Liberal government legalized abortion as long as a committee of doctors signed off that it was necessary for the physical or mental well-being of the mother. In 1988, the Supreme Court of Canada ruled in R. v. Morgentaler that the existing laws were unconstitutional and struck down the 1969 law. The then governing Progressive Conservatives attempted, but failed, to pass a new abortion law.
In 2005, 97,254 abortions were reported in Canada; it is estimated that this number “represents approximately 90% of all abortions performed in Canada involving Canadian residents”. This number has been decreasing since at least 1998.
Abortions in Canada are provided on request and funded by Medicare, to Canadian citizens and permanent residents (as with most medical procedures) in hospitals across the country. Abortion funding for hospitals comes from the various provincial governments (their overall health expenses are however paid for in part by the federal government). One-third of hospitals perform abortions, and these perform two-thirds of abortions in the country. The remaining abortions are performed by public and private-for-profit clinics.
Medical abortion is available in Canada on a limited basis using methotrexate, misoprostol, and mifepristone. Clinical trials were done in 2000 in various Canadian cities comparing methotrexate to mifepristone, after approbation by the federal government. While both drugs had overall similar results, mifepristone was found to act faster. After years of trials and debates, RU-486 was approved for use in Canada when prescribed by doctors on July 29, 2015.