When there are no abortion laws: A case study of Canada.


Canada decriminalized abortion, uniquely in the world, 30 years ago. We present the timeline of relevant Canadian legal, political, and policy events before and since decriminalization. We assess implications for clinical care, health service and systems decisions, health policy, and the epidemiology of abortion in the absence of criminal legislation. As the criminal abortion law was struck down, dozens of similar private member's bills, and one government bill, have been proposed, but none were passed. Key findings include that initially Canadian provinces attempted to provide restrictive regulations and legislation, all of which have been revoked and largely replaced with supportive policies that improve equitable, accessible, state-provided abortion service. Abortion rates have been stable over 30 years since decriminalization, and a falling proportion of abortions occur late in the second trimester. Canada demonstrates that abortion care can safely and effectively be regulated as a normal component of usual medical care

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