Last Updated: Friday - 09/24/2010
Week of January 28, 2002
Abortion rate falls
But Ont. gov't won't reveal stats
By ART BABYCH
Canadian Catholic News
The abortion rate in Canada dropped slightly in 1999 but the figures are skewed because Ontario failed to provide the required data, according to a report by Statistics Canada.
"As Ontario usually reports about 40 per cent of all abortions, data for this province have a major impact on the national picture," said the federal government agency Jan. 18. But "because of changes in reporting requirements in Ontario, complete data for that province are not available," it said.
The result is that the StatsCan report contains no information on the number of abortions performed in Ontario in 1999.
In 2000, the National Post reported that the Ontario government was keeping abortion information from the public for what the province claimed was the public's own good.
The newspaper - which sought the information through the federal privacy commission - said the government believed that revealing how many abortions are performed in the province could lead both sides in the abortion debate to "uncontrolled passion" that could result in mob violence or homicidal stalkers.
After more than a year of arguments and appeals, the ministry was forced to divulge the information to the newspaper showing that the total number of abortions performed in Ontario was 42,503 in 1998.
The Statistics Canada report for 1999 states that the total number of abortions performed in provinces and territories outside of Ontario was 65,627, down 3.2 per cent from 67,785 in 1998.
The abortion rate - again excluding Ontario - dropped to 31.8 abortions for every 100 live births in 1999 from 32.3 in 1998.
The rate is based on "therapeutic" abortions performed in hospitals and clinics outside Ontario, as well as legal abortions obtained by Canadian women in the United States.
The number of abortions increased in Newfoundland and Labrador and in Manitoba. With the exclusion of Ontario, abortion numbers in all other provinces dropped.
In Alberta, the number of abortions declined by 1.6 per cent from 10,353 to 10,188.