Health

Abortion: Free and Legal Throughout Pregnancy

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In Quebec, abortion is free and legal throughout pregnancy. But there are restrictions on access to abortion later in pregnancy.

Abortion is legal throughout pregnancy

When the Supreme Court of Canada legalized abortions in the 1980s, it never set a time limit on when people could get them. Today, abortions are legal throughout pregnancy.

You don’t need your sexual partner’s permission to get an abortion. And young people 14 years old and over don’t need their parents’ permission either.

But, keep in mind, access to abortion becomes more difficult the further along you are in your pregnancy.

Widespread access in the first trimester

In Quebec, most people get abortions in the first trimester (to the end of 12 weeks of pregnancy).

During this period, you can get an abortion through specialized clinics, CLSCs and hospitals. Some family doctors also oversee medical abortions (sometimes called the “abortion pill”) early in pregnancy.

Emergency Contraceptives

Medical abortion is not the same thing as an emergency contraceptive, like the “morning after pill”. Emergency contraceptives are also legal in Quebec and available through pharmacies.

Restrictions on access later in pregnancy

As you move into the second trimester, fewer health care providers perform abortions. You can contact the Centre des rendez-vous en avortement de Montréal (Montreal abortion appointment centre) or the resources below for referrals.

After 23 weeks, a limited number of facilities in Quebec perform abortions.  They may only agree to do so in exceptional cases, for example, if they decide there are serious, incurable foetal abnormalities.

Some people who can’t get an abortion in Canada travel to the United States to have an abortion at this stage.  The Régie de l’assurance maladie du Québec (public health insurance agency) covers travel expenses and the cost of the procedure.    

Abortion is free for most people

Quebec’s public health care system covers surgical and medical abortions.

New to Quebec? You might still be covered.

  • People with immigration documents are covered during the 3-month waiting period to become eligible for health care.
  • If you are a refugee, you may also be covered through the Interim Federal Health Program.
  • If you are from out of province, you could be reimbursed by your home province. Learn more by contacting the health insurance plan in your province.

If you don’t have access to public health care in Quebec, you will probably have to pay for an abortion on your own or have private insurance cover it.

Contact the organizations below for information on paying for abortions, including travel expenses for people living in rural areas.

Safe Access Zones

In 2016, Quebec passed a law creating “safe access zones” around abortion providers. Protests and sidewalk interference are not allowed within 50 metres of health care facilities that perform abortions.