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about therapeutic abortion data

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  • For each data source, information about data collection and analytical methods, limitations, the citation and additional resources can be found on the Data Sources and Methods page.

A Therapeutic Abortion is defined as the deliberate termination of a pregnancy resulting in the death of the fetus or embryo. Also called “induced abortion”, it is not the same as a spontaneous abortion or miscarriage. In Ontario, a therapeutic abortion performed due to the detection of a congenital anomaly at 20 or more weeks gestation or 500 grams or more gestational weight should be registered as a Stillbirth.


Original Source: Hospital Therapeutic Abortions (TA): Canadian Institute for Health Information (CIHI); Non-hospital TAs: Ontario Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care.
Cite as: Ontario Therapeutic Abortion Data, 2000-2016, IntelliHEALTH Ontario, Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care.


Data Collection Methods

  • In 2011, the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care (MOHLTC) revised the methodology for identifying TAs to include those terminations which occurred in Private Physician Offices (PPOs) and to exclude second abortions within 40 days of the first (as these were likely follow-ups/complications from the first procedure).
  • TA data are now captured by the Ontario MOHLTC using a query of multiple hospital and medical services data sources.
  • The data include TAs to Ontario residents only.
  • TA data are based on the patient's residence, not where the TA was performed.
  • TAs completed in the hospital setting are captured through in-patient discharge and ambulatory care data sources.
  • Non-hospital TAs are captured using Medical Services data (OHIP approved claims paid).
  • Non-hospital TAs are separated into those completed within one of the five designated TA clinics which are funded by the MOHLTC (clinic) or outside of one of these clinics (e.g., private clinics, physicians’ offices).

Data Analysis Methods

  • Rates and proportions based on counts less than five (5) must be suppressed.
  • Data elements available are: total number of TAs, number of TAs within 40 days of a previous TA (likely complications of the first procedure) and the adjusted number of TAs (total # TAs minus # TAs within 40 days).
  • The adjusted number of TAs for Ontario residents should be the measure used in analyses.


  • TAs performed out-of-province are not included.
  • TA data are not available below the census division level.
  • Individual-level data are not available (they are pre-aggregated).
  • The number of health-care settings included in the data source has changed over time; this should be noted when using data prior to 2001. From 1986 to 1991, only hospital TAs were included. For the period 1992 to 2000, clinic and hospital TAs were included. For 2001 to the most recent year available, TAs in hospitals, clinics and private physician’s offices are included. Therefore, trends over time should only be examined for 2001 and onward.


  1. Association of Public Health Epidemiologists in Ontario (APHEO). TherapeuticAbortion (TA) Data. 2013.
  2. Ferris LE, Croxford R, and Salkeld E. Induced Abortion in Ontario: Case Scenarios. Echo Report. Echo: Improving Women’s Health in Ontario. 2011
  3. Joseph KS, Allen A, Kramer MS, Cyr M, Fair M. Changes in the registration of stillbirths < 500g in Canada, 1985 - 95. Fetal-Infant Mortality Study Group of the Canadian Perinatal Surveillance System. Paediatr Perinat Epidemiol. 1999; 13:278 - 87.

Last updated: February 12, 2019

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