Filed under:

Questions and Answers

What Kinds of Abortion Are There? What Are They Like?

??? (3 question marks cartoon)

Abortion is a safe way to end a pregnancy, and it is free and legal in Canada. There are several kinds of abortion and there are also many places to get an abortion in Montreal.

Having an abortion doesn’t make it harder to get pregnant in the future. In other words, all of the kinds of abortion are safe and affordable options if you get pregnant.

How do I get different kinds of abortion?

You can get an abortion at a hospital, CLSC, or clinic in Montreal. To get an abortion, you need to call to make an appointment. To make an appointment at a hospital or CLSC, you can call the Montreal Abortion Appointment Centre (514-380-8299).

If you’re 13 or under, you need permission from a parent or guardian to get any kind of abortion. Over that age, choosing to have an abortion is up to you.

Know that if you have to spend more than 12 hours in a hospital or clinic, they’ll need to tell your parents. But, abortions are very low-risk procedures that only take about 10 minutes, so the risk is very low.

Surgical abortion

This is the most common kind of abortion you can get in Quebec. You can have a surgical abortion in a hospital or a clinic. Different hospitals have different policies, and some might ask you to get a referral from from a doctor first.

During a surgical abortion, a doctor will remove the pregnancy tissue from your uterus. The exact details depend on how long you’ve been pregnant for. The doctor will explain what’s going to happen before they begin.

The process takes about 10 minutes. In most clinics you will get local anesthetic and conscious sedation. This means you will be awake but relaxed and not in pain. In most hospitals you’ll get general anesthetic, meaning you’ll be asleep.

Afterwards, you might have some bleeding or cramping, kind of like your period. You might want to take some time off work, school, or family responsibilities. Plan for someone else to drive you home from the clinic or hospital.

You can get a surgical abortion anytime up to 23 weeks in Montreal. Some clinics will not perform the procedure this late, though. If you need an abortion after 23 weeks, Quebec medicare will cover the costs of having one in the United States. Keep in mind that you can take time to make your decision, but an earlier abortion on will be easier on your body.

Medical abortion

During a medical abortion, a doctor will give you two different medications. You’ll get mifepristone first at the clinic as a pill.  Then you will get misoprostol, which you  take at home a few days later. Sometimes people call these medications “the abortion pill.”

A medical abortion looks and feels kind of like a miscarriage. It will empty your uterus and feel something like a heavy period. You might have cramps, bleeding, nausea, headaches, diarrhea, fever, or chills, or feel tired. You might also see clots or bits of tissue along with blood.

It’s possible that you’ll keep having these side effects for a week or more. To be safe, it helps to make sure you can take time off work, school, or family responsibilities for this time.

Clinics also ask to follow-up around two weeks after you take the last pill. This is to make sure the pregnancy ended and there weren’t any issues. Some clinics let you do a blood test anywhere and follow up with a nurse on the phone. Others ask you to make another appointment at the clinic.

In Quebec, you can get a medical abortion up to 9 weeks after your missed period. Having a medical abortion as early as possible can make recovery a little easier.

Pre- and post-abortion care

It’s ok if this is a hard choice to make, or if it’s an easy one. It’s ok to feel whatever you feel before, during, and after your abortion.

You may feel sad after an abortion or you may feel relieved, or anything in between. If possible, it can be nice to have a non-judgmental support person on call in case you need to talk. This could be a friend, partner, or family member. You can also talk to someone at a helpline like Tel-Jeunes.

You might need some time to recover after the procedure. Plan to take it easy for a few days if you can.

Abortion is a low-risk medical procedure. If you have intense pain or heavy bleeding, it’s a good idea to call the clinic or hospital.

Check out the resources below for more details on clinics, abortion, and the law.

More info: