On Feb. 17, the Canadian Institute for Health Information released abortion statistics, revealing there were at least 82,869 abortions in 2013 compared to 83,708 in 2012.
According to CIHI, 35,003 were committed in hospitals, and 47,866 in abortion clinics.
LifeSiteNews reported that “CIHI’s stated methodology leads to the inescapable conclusion that there are literally countless more victims of abortion in Canada.”
Not including those done in Quebec, which does not provide enough information about their abortions, a majority of hospital abortions were committed in the first trimester: 29 per cent on babies in the first eight weeks of gestation and another 40 per cent on babies nine to 12 weeks. Just 2.2 per cent of abortions were committed on babies 21 weeks or older and nearly one-in-five hospital abortions did not report the gestational age.
About one-quarter of abortions done in hospitals were repeat abortions (excluding Quebec which doesn’t report details), with 2,549 women obtaining their third, or more, abortion.
Women aged 20-24 accounted for 27.3 per cent of abortions in both hospitals and abortuaries when information about age was provided, with women 25-29 accounting for another 21.3 per cent. Teens accounted for 12 per cent of abortions.
The CIHI, a non-profit inter-governmental organization that has been collecting abortion statistics since 1995 and has been the only official source of abortion numbers since Statistics Canada stopped publishing them in 2006, collects data from hospitals, but does not count all abortions committed in abortuaries or doctors’ offices. The statistics do not include so-called medical or chemical abortions such as the morning-after pill.
Patricia Maloney, who runs the Run with Life blog, said that CIHI uses the hospital “discharge abstract database” instead of the more accurate fee-for-service records paid to all doctors through the various provincial health care plans. In 2010, Maloney found that in Ontario the CIHI figures were off by 45 per cent in Ontario, missing more than 15,000 abortions in the province.
The 2013 CIHI report admitted to “exploring” using fee-for-service records but decided against it due to variations in provincial plans. However, CIHI admits it “probably underestimates” the actual number of abortions due to its methodology.
Johanne Brownrigg of Campaign Life Coalition said if Maloney’s numbers are extrapolated across the country, there are still more 100,000 surgical abortions committed annually in Canada. She called the 100,000 estimate “an accurate reflection of the tragedy.”
Rick Hiemstra of the Evangelical Fellowship of Canada said accurate abortion statistics are essential because “governments and bureaucracies tend to ignore what they don’t measure.” He said in most western democracies, “numbers tend to make a problem real and their absence tends, at least politically, to make a problem go away.” In a 2012 report, “Black Holes: Canada’s Missing Abortion Data,” the EFC called for full disclosure of abortion related records.