Information on abortion services
Abortion is a medical act which consists of ending a pregnancy. It is also referred to as termination of pregnancy (TP). In Quebec, abortion is a regulated and safe practice.
There are two methods of abortion: medical abortion (abortion pill) and procedural abortion (sometimes called surgical). The woman’s health and preferences determine the choice of abortion method.
Abortion services process
To assist the patient through the process, a meeting with various professionals providing psychosocial, nursing and medical services is offered. During this interview, the abortion method is agreed upon, depending on the patient’s situation. This meeting can be held over the telephone, by videoconference or in person.
A combination of two medications are administered to the patient for a medical abortion. This combination is called Mifegymiso. The first medication stops the pregnancy from developing. In some cases, it is given directly at the clinic. In other cases, the patient receives a prescription and gets the medication from the pharmacy. The second medication finishes the process. The second step can cause cramps and bleeding. The second medication must be taken 24 to 48 hours after the first. The patient is given instructions on how to use the medications safely. Follow-up may be necessary to ensure that the process is complete. This follow-up can be in clinic or through telehealth, depending on the health professional’s recommendations.
This method is performed through dilation-aspiration-curettage. It is performed by a doctor at a clinic or hospital. In most cases, the intervention consists of dilating the cervix, then removing the contents of the uterus by aspiration or curettage. This method does not require any cuts or stitches. Calming medication will be offered to the patient and an anaesthetic will be used in the cervix to make the intervention more comfortable. The intervention lasts 15 to 30 minutes on average, depending on the number of weeks of pregnancy. Depending on the stage of pregnancy, other methods can be used. The sensations felt during the intervention vary from one person to the next, but generally they are comparable to moderate-to-high-intensity cramps for a few minutes. The intervention can take place on the day of the assessment appointment or on another day. A follow-up is conducted by the medical staff after the termination of pregnancy.
After an abortion
Following the termination of pregnancy, regardless of the method chosen, the person can generally resume her activities fairly quickly.
The patient may feel many emotions at the same time. She may need some time to rest. It is important that she listen to herself and go at her own pace. She might also feel grief: in that case, she should not hesitate to contact the community organizations in her region, or even the SOS Grossesse (in French only) organization for support.
Having one or more abortions throughout one’s life does not impact future fertility. In fact, it is possible to get pregnant again quickly after a termination of pregnancy, regardless of the method used.
During the evaluation and termination of pregnancy follow-up appointment, the patient can discuss different contraception methods that meet her needs and preferences to avoid future unplanned pregnancies. During a procedural abortion, if there are no contraindications, a copper IUD can be installed free of charge. For any other method requiring a prescription, it can be given on site or sent to the pharmacy.
Types of facilities offering abortion services
Abortion services are offered in several types of facilities, such as:
- some CLSCs and hospitals in integrated health and social services centres (CISSS);
- some CLSCs and hospitals in integrated university health and social services centres (CIUSSS);
- some private clinics;
- some community centres;
- some family medicine groups (GMFs) or medical clinics.
For the complete list of abortion resources, please refer to the Finding a Resource Offering Abortion Services page.
Last update: February 22, 2023