Abortion in Canada

I recently came across a news headline that read "Most Canadians Unaware of Lack of Restrictions on Abortion" and I thought... Abortion?  Why are we surveying people about abortion? It's a non-issue in Canada (or so I thought), the government is not involved. Remember Mr. Trudeau's eloquent quote "... there's no place for the state in the bedrooms of the nation"? In 1969 Bill C-150 was passed legalizing contraception and abortion. In 1988, abortion was completely decriminalized and made free under the Health Act 1.  The procedure is conducted under Obstetrics guidelines 2.

Please note that it is not my intention to get into the abortion debate, rather it is an opportunity to present the data in a clear, concise manner and to use the mapping tool in Tableau Public.

As you can see the rates have been declining worldwide (note: the major reduction in Europe is likely due to the increase in legalization of contraception in Northern Europe).  Comparable data on rates per 100 live births are not available for most countries and these rates should not be interpreted as a percentage of pregnancies. The most recent data for Canada is 2006, and I would suspect that since the introduction of the morning-after-pill around that time in most developed countries, the therapeutic abortion rates will likely have declined.  It should be noted that the data on abortion has always been considered underestimated due to lack of formalized systematic national collection methodology (particularly for clinics), however, these estimates do provide us with some sort of picture of the issue. For more information on this data, please see the notes on the page links below.

Sources:   Statistics Canada. Table 106-9034 - Induced abortions in hospitals and clinics, by age group and area of residence of patient, Canada, provinces and territories, annual (table), CANSIM (database), accessed September 8, 2010.  The Guttmacher Institute. Facts on Induced Abortion Worldwide. October 2009.