Getting an abortion in Canada in 1987

by Know Your History

July 6, 2021

I had an abortion in a small city in Canada in 1987. Getting an abortion was still a big deal at that time. I had to go and see my family doctor who had to confirm I was pregnant through a urine test that was sent to a lab.

It took one week for the results to come back. By then I was 7 weeks pregnant. Next, my doctor had to apply to a panel of doctors and explain why she supported my decision to get an abortion. I had to say I would be suicidal if I continued the pregnancy. Two weeks after that I was ‘approved’ and an appointment was made at the local hospital. By the time I saw the doctor and the abortion was booked, I was 11 weeks pregnant. At that time, one doctor performed abortions and only on Wednesday. I was supposed to stay over night at the hospital and spend a total of 3 days dealing with the procedure. I had a 7 year old at home and could not do that. I knew that a doctor, a hero, named Henry Morgentaler (google him) had developed a way to do abortions that did not involve all this nonsense and asked the doctor about it. He told me he had just completed training with Dr. Morgentaler but had not done the procedure in the manner before.

I signed all the consents that allowed him to do so and became his first patient. So instead of a 3 day ordeal, it took 2 hours in the morning after which I went home, so relieved. After my abortion, this was the way that all abortions were done.

Having access to a safe abortion changed my life in a beautiful way because I got involved in the pro-choice movement and found my voice and spirit as a woman. Thanks to Dr. Henry Morgentaler and hundreds of unnamed and unknown people like me, Canada has had no abortion law since 1998 and abortion is a publicly funded medical procedure, legal at all stages of pregnancy regardless of the reason. We won that battle, we got to freedom and every woman on the planet deserves the same respect and dignity.


Remember that our stories are ours to tell. We’d love to hear your story too!