In Canada, access to health services is guaranteed by the Canada Health Act. Abortion is considered a safe, legal, insured and funded service, meaning that a woman should not have to pay for abortion services in Canada.
However, access is variable across the country and women are charged fees at some facilities. For example:
- There are no abortion services in Prince Edward Island.
- In New Brunswick, to have a publicly funded abortion a woman has to have approval from two doctors to have an abortion in the hospital. If she has an abortion at the clinic, then she will have to pay as the province will not pay for abortions outside publicly funded facilities, such as hospitals.
- New Brunswick funds only abortion care provided by obstetrician/gynecologists, not family physicians as is common throughout the rest of Canada.
Some of these barriers may violate the Canada Health Act and the intent of the decriminalization of abortion in Canada.
Abortion is funded under provincial and territorial health plans, and coverage varies regionally.
Some health care providers may refuse to refer a patient for abortion care or withhold important information about her medical options. NAF has developed an information sheet, Has Your Physician Refused to Provide a Referral for Abortion Care? A Patient's Guide to Action (PDF file, 51K) to assist patients in asserting their rights in these situations.