New Tool Highlights Abortion Access Disparities Across Canada Amidst Rising Attacks

March 19, 2024

TORONTO, ON, March 19, 2024 – Today, Action Canada for Sexual Health & Rights and the Women’s Legal Education and Action Fund (LEAF) launched the Abortion Access Tracker, a website that illustrates the legal landscape of abortion in Canada and the reality of accessing abortion care across the country.

The Abortion Access Tracker maps where Canada has made progress on guaranteeing access to abortion. It also reveals a picture of unequal access: alongside a myriad of barriers that can be experienced by people seeking an abortion, provinces and territories have differing laws, regulations, and policies that affect how easily a person can access an abortion.

“Although abortion is a common medical procedure that is regulated as such under the Canada Health Act, a person’s path to access can be impacted by the policies that exist in their region,” says Frédérique Chabot, Acting Executive Director at Action Canada for Sexual Health and Rights. “For example, all doctors are allowed to refuse to provide abortion care because of their beliefs, and are only required to provide a referral if they practice in Ontario or Nova Scotia.”

Across Canada, a centralized referral system that people can use to find health care providers offering abortion only exists in four provinces and territories, and half of the provinces and territories do not have information about abortion on their websites. These discrepancies demonstrate an urgent need for governments to ensure that abortion access is enabled – rather than restricted – by laws, regulations, and policies that exist in their regions. 

The Abortion Access Tracker is being launched at a critical time, as attacks on sexual and reproductive rights continue to intensify in Canada and globally. 

Since 1987, 48 anti-choice private member bills or motions have been introduced in Parliament. The most recent one was in 2023, and while it ultimately failed to pass, a third of the House voted in favour of it. 

In the coming months, the Supreme Court of the United States will rule on the FDA’s authorization of Mifepristone, the drug used in over half of all abortions in the U.S. Despite the drug’s proven safety and efficacy, anti-abortion advocates are working to block access and delegitimize it as a safe option. In the same way that overturning Roe v. Wade had ripple effects beyond the U.S. border, this case has triggered waves of disinformation about medication abortion globally.

“The extreme rollbacks on abortion rights in the United States following the overturning of Roe v. Wade in 2022 have led many people in Canada to worry about whether the same thing could happen here,” says Pam Hrick, Executive Director & General Counsel at LEAF. “While abortion is well protected in Canada under the current legal landscape, our legislatures are not immune to the propagation of anti-abortion rhetoric.  Policies impacting the ability to exercise the right to an abortion must be strengthened to improve access.”

Amid these growing attacks and existing access gaps, the Abortion Access Tracker is an indispensable tool for advocates and policymakers working to protect and strengthen access to abortion in Canada.



Quinn Lazenby
Communications Officer
Action Canada for Sexual Health and Rights / 613-241-4474 x 13200

Jen Gammad
Communications & Advocacy Manager, LEAF