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Getting an Abortion in Hamilton

Haadi Hafeez
Abortion is a polarizing topic; Prochoice or Prolife? This debate has raged on for decades. Is it wrong to ignore the rights of the mother? Is terminating a potential life immoral? This is a very sensitive issue indeed and many people still get squeamish when asked to voice their opinion, as there is no definitively right answer. In a poll conducted by Postmedia News and Global TV on the Canadian stance on abortion, 49% identified as Pro-choice if favor of women making the final decision, 6% as Pro-life with women not permitted to undergo an abortion under any circumstance, and 45% in favor of abortions only in certain circumstances [1].

unwanted baby In Canada there are currently no laws regulating abortion, this means that doctors and women have the right to perform an abortion without legal restriction. In fact in Ontario abortions are 100% covered by OHIP in hospitals or licensed clinics [2]. While there are several hospitals and clinics in Canada that perform abortion procedures, many doctors work in fear of antiabortion groups and religious organizations that in the past have taken extreme measures to impede this fundamental right of Canadian women. From 1994 to 2000 multiple doctors in Canada were either shot or stabbed by theses extremist groups [3].

Although unwanted pregnancy is one of the most common reasons why women choose to have an elective abortion, it is not a purely selfish desire as prolife activists will have you believe. Many reasons that drive mothers to the lengths of pregnancy termination include, very young age, financial instability, maternal health, to prevent birth of a child with birth defects or severe medical problems, and even pregnancy resulting from sexual assault or incest.

If you are pregnant and unsure if it is the wisest idea to keep it until term, or just want to explore the options available to make the most informed decision, here are some helpful resources available to you in the Hamilton area.

Pregnancy Support Services of Hamilton
A non-profit agency that supports anyone dealing with an unplanned pregnancy, they offer services from pregnancy tests, counseling, and support services to adoption referrals, Abortion education, and post-abortion support, all for free. They are available to support you though your decision making process and beyond.

abortion surgery The Maternity Centre of Hamilton
Affiliated with McMaster University, The Maternity Centre of Hamilton is comprised of family physicians, nurse practitioners, social workers and other helpful individuals to aid pregnant women in need of assistance. They care for approximately 700 Hamilton women per year, and do not require the need of a physician referral.

Birthright of Hamilton
Offering services to help women make decision about their pregnancy through personalized one on one counseling. They emphasize a non-judgemental environment, and stress confidentiality with all clients. They provide social and education assistance to potential future mothers, or provide alternative option routes if motherhood is not in the clients best interest.

While legally physicians are allowed to perform abortions during any point during pregnancy, you will be hard pressed to find one that does after 20 or 21 weeks gestation unless there are compelling health reasons or genetic concerns as governed by the Canadian Medical Association. Typically over 90% of abortions are carried out within the first trimester, with only 2-3% done after 16 weeks [4]. The risk for complication is in fact less then carrying a pregnancy to term, with a mortality rate of 12 death for every 100,000 live births [5], compared an estimated 0.1 deaths for every 100,000 abortions [6].

abortion The methods used to in induce an abortion depend on gestational age and can either be chemically or surgically induced. Recently as of 2015, Health Canada approved one of the most commonly used abortifacient medication used across the globe called Mifepristone, an anti-progesterone agent [7]. It’s used in combination with a prostaglandin analog and work by disrupting the hormonal balance needed for normal pregnancy, resulting in fetal demise. They are commonly used in the first or second trimester. Surgically induced on the other hand is the most common method of abortion in Canada [8] and approach depends on the stage of the pregnancy and the size of the fetus. The majority of surgically induced abortions are done so by suction aspiration between 6 and 14 weeks gestation, while farther along pregnancies require the need for more invasive instruments.

If you are in the predicament of dealing with an unexpected pregnancy and not sure how to precede, please contact one of the services in Hamilton listed above to make sure you understand all the options available to you. Sometimes getting an abortion may seem like the least damaging course to take, but it may not be want you truly want when searching your heart and soul for the best course of action. You owe it to yourself to make sure make sure if getting an abortion is right for you.
Haadi Hafeez March 13, 2016

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