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Questions and Answers

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

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Abortion is a safe way to end a pregnancy, and it is free and legal in Canada. 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?

Some hospitals need you to get a referral from a doctor for a surgical abortion, but most clinics just need you to make an appointment. Medical abortions aren’t as widely available, but that’s changing quickly. You can get the most up-to-date information by calling 1-888-642-2725 for Action Canada’s Access Line on abortion information.

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.

You will need to go back to see the doctor again for a follow-up. The doctor will check that your pregnancy has ended, and to see if you’ve had any complications.

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:

  • Clinique Médicale Fémina

    Clinique Médicale Fémina is a clinic offering gynecological services, birth control, STI testing, and abortion.

  • The Morgentaler Abortion Clinic

    “The Montreal Morgentaler Clinic is the first freestanding clinic to offer safe abortion services in Canada.” The clinic offers surgical abortions by appointment only and the procedure includes an exam, counselling, and ultrasound. Call to make an appointment in advance, and follow-up appointments are available when needed.

  • Access Line – Pregnancy Options – Action Canada

    This help line and email can help you navigate your options with an unexpected pregnancy, explaining each possibility and the risks of each, including raising the fetus, adoption, abortion, and more. They are available 24/7 to help you through the process.

  • Abortion options: Which method is right for me? (Workbook)

    A workbook designed to help guide you to make the best choice for yourself regarding abortion methods 

  • Abortion (law in Canada) – Educaloi

    Details on the law in Canadian around abortion, including ages when parents don’t need to approve.

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