OTTAWA, Ontario, December 15, 2010 ( – Government statistics on abortion for 2007 and 2008 released on Tuesday appear to indicate there were only 44,416 abortions in 2008, down from the reported 91,377 abortions in 2006.  However, a closer look reveals that this total leaves out abortions committed at private facilities. These are left as “unknown” because facilities in six out of the 13 provinces/territories failed to report.

The quality of Canada’s abortion statistics have been questioned by pro-life advocates in recent years.  John Hof, executive director of Campaign Life Coalition B.C., called the latest statistics, and the way that they are gathered, a “scandal.”  If the abortion facilities do not have to report, he asked, “then what’s the purpose of keeping statistics?”

“How are we ever going to hold to account, from a fiscal perspective, those abortion clinics, if they won’t tell anybody how many abortions they’re doing?”

Once the figures from private facilities in the seven reporting provinces/territories are tallied up, the total for 2008 climbs to 94,010 abortions.

Even this figure is lower than the actual number, says the Canadian Institute for Health Information (CIHI) in the new release, due to the voluntary nature of reporting for private facilities.

The CIHI collects abortion statistics on behalf of the government every year through what is called the Therapeutic Abortion Survey.

Pro-life advocates highlighted the flawed nature of the survey last year when the 2006 total (91,377) appeared to show a major drop from the 105,535 reported in 2002. But the 2006 figure, they pointed out, did not include abortion numbers from British Columbia, New Brunswick, and Manitoba.

The 2008 numbers were down slightly from 2007, where the total is listed at 47,318-47,326 abortions.  After adding up the available numbers from private facilities, the number is 97,009-97,017.

In both years, abortion appears to have been most common for women aged 20-24, who procured 22% of reported abortions.  This figure does not include Quebec, however, because the province did not provide an age breakdown.

The most common gestational age to abort was 9 to 12 weeks in both years, with 8 weeks and under the second highest.  At 21 weeks or later, CIHI reports 556 abortions in 2008 and 552 in 2007.  About 40% of the hospital abortions did not specify gestational age.

“Canada does not do 47,000 abortions a year,” said Hof.  “Canadians need to know that we’re paying for way more than that, double and more, according to the abortion industry itself.”

The statistics are available at the Canadian Institute for Health Information’s website.