Submitted by megan on Tue, 06/02/2009 - 19:12
After my initial reaction to the news of Dr. Tiller's murder, which was, unsurprisingly, everything you can wrap up in the phrase oh no fuck, came a rather self-satisfied thought that we were lucky, up here in Canada.
Third thought: is that true? What's access to late-term abortion like here?
We may have no laws here against abortion, but there is still harassment of providers and the women who need those providers.
Just as important, access is quite limited, even for a regular abortion. What's the use of being able to legally have one if in reality you can't? In Quebec and New Brunswick, you have to pay for what should be covered. In PEI, you can't get one at all: as of 2005, there was no provider in the province, and anecdotally, I believe that's still the case. Only about 16% of hospitals provide abortion, and most of those are in urban centres close to the US border.*
And then, not all of those centres provide late-term abortion (i.e. after 20 weeks).
From what I've been able to dig up (which is a few years out of date now, so absorb carefully), seems either a few provinces send women needing these kinds of abortions to the States, or they all do. Specifically, to Washington, Colorado, and Kansas.
To Dr. Tiller.
Turns out Kansas was much closer than I thought.
If you're interested in the most recent, yet still shockingly out of date, statistics on induced abortion in Canada, Stats Can has a publication for you. It looks like Abortion Rights Coalition of Canada bought a specific Cansim table, as well, looking at number of abortions by gestational age. If I somehow missed a more recent report, please share and I'll update this.
*Canadians For Choice. Problems in Access.