Abortion in Quebec
There are two types of abortion available in Quebec: a surgical abortion and the abortion pill (also known as a medication abortion). To learn more about each option, click here.
Both options are 100% covered by RAMQ the provincial health care plan, making them free for residents of Quebec.
Each administrative region of the province has at least one point of service for in-clinic abortions. For most of these regions, there is at least one provider that offers both a surgical abortion, and the abortion pill options.
Recently, the Collège des médecins has lifted some of the restrictions in Quebec that previously affected patient access to medication abortion. To know more, click here.
The Quebec Order of Midwives (OSFQ) also announced that midwives in Quebec may soon be able to prescribe medication abortion. To know more about this update in guidelines from OSFQ, click here.
To find an abortion provider in your area based on the abortion option you prefer, visit choiceconnect.ca
Abortion services are available in Quebec
In Quebec, abortions are available at certain:
- Local health centres called Centres locaux de services communautaires (CLSCS)
- Community centres
- Private abortion clinics, primarily in the Montreal area
Quebec has the most abortion clinics in the country — 49 in total. Approximately 1 in 5 Quebeckers live outside of the main cities in rural or remote areas and may need to travel significant distances for an abortion. If you need assistance with travel to an abortion clinic, call the Action Canada Access Line at 1-888-642-2725.
If you choose the abortion pill, you might be able to get the medication directly from the clinic or physician you visit or you might need to fill the prescription at a pharmacy. If your pharmacy doesn’t have the abortion pill in stock, you can ask them to order it in. This usually takes about two days.
Abortions are free for Quebec residents
Both the abortion pill and surgical abortions are covered by Quebec’s provincial health insurance, RAMQ. If you have a Quebec health card or are seeking asylum in Quebec, there are no fees for either abortion option. This includes filling your prescription if you are using the abortion pill.
If you are seeking abortion care, but your health insurance has expired, you are an international student, or visiting Quebec, you may be required to pay a fee for your treatment. Fees vary and are determined by the individual clinic. Ask the clinic about any financial support that might be available.
Otherwise, abortion care in Quebec will not cost you anything. Abortion clinics are not allowed to charge fees for either abortion option if you have a valid Quebec health insurance card.
When it comes to abortion, this is what Quebec women had to say:
A survey conducted in 2021 by Leger among 800 Quebec women uncovered some interesting findings about their awareness, understanding and perceptions about abortion. The survey found:
- Nearly 2/3 of Quebec respondents are unaware that a medical or pharmaceutical option can be obtained to end a pregnancy.
- If faced with a need for an abortion, 89% of Quebec women say that they want to be able to choose between a pill they could take at home and a surgical procedure performed in a hospital or abortion clinic.
- 94% agree that women in Quebec who need or want access to a non-surgical (medical) abortion should be allowed to choose the best option for them. Recent lifting of restrictions in Quebec around prescribing of medication abortion offer a promising development towards access to non-surgical abortion options.
- More than four-in-ten (44%) Quebec women say that if they were faced with a situation where they wanted or needed an abortion, they would prefer the option of a pill they could take at home, roughly twice that of those who would prefer a surgical procedure performed in a hospital or abortion clinic (23%).
Questions to ask your healthcare provider
Now that you know more about your abortion options (surgical abortion or the abortion pill), here are some ways to advocate for the choice that’s best for you.
Most abortion clinics in Quebec offer both abortion options, but some might have more experience or be comfortable with one option over the other. This can affect how they discuss the options with you. If you are a candidate for both options, the choice is yours, and yours alone.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Here are some common questions. You should consult with a doctor, pharmacist, or other healthcare professional as you consider your abortion options.
- What are the similarities and differences between a surgical and medication abortion?
- Both options for abortion are safe and legal in Canada. A surgical abortion is a medical procedure that takes place in medical clinic, hospital or physician office and is available for people who are up to 24 weeks pregnant.
- A medication abortion is available for people who are no more than 9 weeks pregnant and can take place where you reside. Both are covered by almost every provincial health care plan*.
- How many appointments should I expect for a surgical abortion or the abortion pill?
- For the abortion pill, most providers will schedule a follow-up appointment 7 to 14 days after the initial consultation. The health professional will check whether your pregnancy has completely ended.
- For a surgical abortion, the clinic or hospital visit might take a few hours, but the procedure itself does not take very long. Many can resume regular activities within a day or two.
- Will I need downtime from work or daily activities for either option?
- After a surgical abortion, many can resume regular activities within a day or two.
- For medication abortion, plan to rest for the day. Most people finish the process within 4-5 hours after taking Step 2, but it could take longer.
- What are my options for pain management during a surgical abortion?
- Local anesthesia or intra-venous (IV) pain relief is offered for a surgical abortion and most people don’t report any pain.
- Is there pain management required for a medical abortion? If so, what are my options?
- Pain management regimens are decided between patient and provider. At the very least, providers will typically recommend taking ibuprofen or some other type of over-the-counter pain medication, however aspirin should be avoided as it may increase bleeding. Some providers may also prescribe prescription medication to manage pain.
- Do I need someone to come with me, or be with me?
- For the surgical abortion you will want to be accompanied by someone, especially if you have been given pain medication. You should not drive or operate machinery after the surgical procedure.
- You do not need someone to be with you for a medication abortion, however you might find it reassuring to have someone you know keep you company.
Disclaimer: The information on this website is not a substitute for professional medical advice. Please consult with your healthcare professional for general or individualized information.
Advocating for yourself
Other helpful tips:
- Bring a notepad and pen or use your phone to write things down when you speak to your health provider
- Make a list beforehand of questions you want answered. Ask as many as you need.
- Ask if you can bring a partner, family member or friend to support you — usually this is allowed
- Remember: This is your abortion — and it should be on your terms
If you have concerns about the care you received, there is information on the Government of Quebec website about how to file a complaint.