Abortions

Abortions performed in Ontario are safe, legal and are covered by OHIP. This page will provide you with information about abortions, how to find a clinic or hospital that performs abortions and care after your abortion. Please feel free to call us if you have any questions or want to talk with one of the counsellors.

Abortion methods

There are two types of abortions: surgical and non-surgical.

The start of your pregnancy is considered to be from the first day of your last normal menstrual period.

Vacuum Suction Curettage (VSC) is a surgical procedure that can be done up to 14 weeks in the hospital and up to 20 weeks at some clinics. The cervix is dilated (opened up), instruments are inserted into the uterus and a machine provides gentle suction to remove the contents. Laminaria tents are used in all procedures done at the hospital, and for clinic procedures when the pregnancy is 14 weeks or over (Laminaria tents are thin pieces of sterile seaweed that are put into the cervix. They slowly open up the cervix to make the procedure easier and more comfortable.)

Methotrexate and Misoprostol (M&M) is a non-surgical abortion that can be performed up to seven weeks from the start of your last menstrual period. An injection of Methotrexate given into the hip muscle stops the growth of the pregnancy. Misoprostol tablets are put into the vagina at home five to seven days later. This causes the uterus to contract and expel the contents usually within 24 hours. In about 35 per cent of cases, it may take several days or weeks. A surgical abortion may be needed if the drugs have not worked and the abortion is not completed.

Manual Vacuum Aspiration (MVA) is a surgical procedure that can be done up to 7½ weeks from the start of your last menstrual period. A flexible plastic tube is put into the uterus. Pulling back on the syringe creates a gentle suction and the contents of the uterus are removed. You are awake during the procedure and it takes about 10 minutes.

If you want to have your abortion done at a hospital, there are a few things you should know. You will be given a general anaesthitic (put to sleep) and your stay at the hospital will be approximately eight hours. The Bay Centre For Birth Control can make those arrangements for you. You will need to make an appointment with them first for a counselling session. Their phone number is 416 · 351 · 3700.

Abortion clinics

The clinics listed below are strictly confidential and require no parental consent. Services at abortion clinics are covered by OHIP.

All the clinics will see women without health cards; the cost depends on the number of weeks you have been pregnant. Only one appointment is usually needed unless the pregnancy is past 14 weeks.

It is a good idea to have a check-up before the abortion to make sure there are no infections that need to be treated. You are awake during the procedure and will be offered pain medication.

When you call the clinic to make your appointment, they will tell you what you need to do before the abortion.

Choice in Health Clinic
1678 Bloor St. West, Suite 301
416 · 975 · 9300

  • Will do abortions four to 14 weeks from start of last period.
  • Clinic will do MVA for early pregnancies.
  • Services available in English, interpreters can be arranged for many other languages.

Scott Clinic
157 Gerrard Street East(between Jarvis & Sherbourne)
416 · 962 · 4108 (taped message)
416 · 962 · 5771 (appointment)

  • Will do abortions six to 16 weeks from start of last period.
  • Services available in Cantonese, English, Filipino, French, Italian, Mandarin, Romanian, and Spanish.

Morgentaler Clinic
727 Hillsdale Avenue (near Bayview & Eglinton)
416 · 932 · 0446 or 1 · 800 · 556 · 6835

  • Day/evening appointments available as well as Saturdays.
  • Will do abortions six to 18 weeks from start of last period.
  • Services available in Croatian, English, Filipino, French, Italian, Serbian.

Cabbagetown Women’s Clinic
302 Gerrard Street East (Gerrard & Parliament)
416 · 323 · 0642

  • Will do abortions six to 18 (possibly 22) weeks from start of last period.
  • Services available in English, French, Italian, Mandarin, Romanian, Russian.

Women’s Care Clinic
960 Lawrence Avenue West, Suite 501 (Lawrence West & Dufferin)
416 · 256 · 7149 or 416 · 256 · 7069

  • Will do abortions sixto 19 weeks from start of last period.
  • Will do MVA four-seven weeks from start of last period.
  • Will do M&M five-seven weeks from start of last period.
  • Some evening and Saturday appointments available.
  • Services available in English, French, Spanish, Afghan, Bulgarian, Farsi, Macedonian, Polish, Russian and Serbo-Croatian.
  • There is an extra fee of $40 to $80 that is not covered by OHIP.

Bay Centre for Birth Control
790 Bay Street, 8th floor (Bay & College)
416 · 351 · 3700

  • Hospital referrals for abortions up to 14 weeks from start of last period.
  • Services available in 17 languages.

What if You Don’t Have A Health Card?

There are abortion options available to women who don’t have a health card. Please speak to one of the counsellors for more information and a list of prices for the different clinics.

What to expect after an abortion

You can return to normal activities the day after the abortion. Let how you feel be your guide.

Bleeding

Bleeding may last anywhere from a few days to three weeks but it should not be very heavy. Some women may only experience spotting. Often there is only a little bleeding until the third or fourth day when it may become heavier. If you pass clots or tissue you can experience some cramping and the bleeding may increase. The bleeding may stop and start again. This bleeding is not your normal period. You can get pregnant between now and your next period.

Cramps

It is normal to feel period-like cramps after you’ve had an abortion. The cramps happen because the uterus is contracting as it returns to its normal, smaller size. You can use a hot water bottle to help with the cramps or if you want to use pain medication you can try acetaminophen (Tylenol) or ibuprofen (Advil). You should avoid taking Aspirin, or special medications for cramps (Anaprox, Ponstan) which can increase internal bleeding.

Other changes

Once you’ve had the abortion you may have a sense of relief. As the pregnancy symptoms disappear you should begin to feel like yourself again. However, you may feel sadness or a sense of loss, even when the decision to have the abortion was easy to make at the time. The quick change in hormone levels after you’ve had the abortion may cause mood changes and leave you feeling a “little blue” or depressed. This is a time when you may want to have someone close by for support. All the feelings that you are experiencing are real and are normal. Every woman deals with and experiences abortion differently.

Your next period

Your next period will likely come four-six weeks after your abortion. If you started the birth control pill immediately after the abortion, your period will likely come after you have finished the first package.

Prevention infection

During an abortion some bacteria can get into the uterus, but your body usually stops an infection from happening. The clinic/hospital where you have the abortion may give you some antibiotics to help reduce the chance of infection. There are also a few other ways to help make sure that your uterus stays healthy after the abortion, for three weeks:

  • No intercourse.
  • No tampons (use pads for the bleeding.)
  • No baths or douches (showers are OK.)
  • No swimming or hot tubs.

In short, nothing in your vagina for three weeks until you have had a check-up with a health care provider.

Emergencies

Call us or the clinic where the abortion was done if you experience any of the following:

  • Heavy bleeding that soaks a pad in an hour for three hours or more.
  • Fever or chills.
  • Severe cramping that is not relieved by pain medication.

Go to an emergency room if after hours.