What is an abortion?

  • Abortion is the ending of a pregnancy.
  • A pregnancy that stops growing on its own is called a spontaneous abortion or miscarriage.
  • An induced abortion is the active termination or ending of a pregnancy. During an induced abortion, the embryo or fetus and placental tissue are removed or expelled from the uterus.
  • There are 2 types of induced abortions: aspiration abortion (sometimes called surgical abortion) or medication abortion (sometimes called medical abortion). 

How common is abortion?

  • According to the Society of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (SOGC), “Abortion is the second most common reproductive health procedure, experienced by 31% of Canadian women*. Between 1991 and 2005, roughly 100 000 abortions occurred annually in Canada. Since 2006, the number of abortions has decreased slightly, but incomplete reporting in recent years makes comparisons difficult.”
    *note that , gender diverse, and non-binary people also have abortions.

Types of abortions:

  • Medication (Medical) Abortion
  • Aspiration (Surgical) Abortion

For information and comparison of the two methods, click here for our Fact Sheet

For more information on abortion, including the difference between medication and aspiration abortion, clinic locations, and decision making, contact our Sex Sense team. They provide information from a pro-choice, non-judgmental, fact-based perspective, and will give you the information you need to make the decision that is right for you.

Our Abortion Myths and Facts section also has information to help dispel common myths about abortion.

Have a question about sexual health?