Cost of Alberta’s Abortions

Vol. 15 Issue 3, Leduc-Wetaskiwin Pipestone Flyer

The government of Alberta believes that the best way to reduce the number of abortions in Alberta is to reduce the number of unintended pregnancies.

Insured physician services for pregnancy termination are listed in the Alberta Schedule of Medical benefits and have been included in the schedule since 1969.

During the financial year 2008/2009 Alberta Health and Wellness spent approximately $8.4 million on 12,537 procedures related to physician and facility services for medically necessary abortions. Pregnancy termination services are provided through hospitals and through private clinics that have contracts with Alberta Health Services.

The clinics are the Kensington Clinic in Calgary and the Women’s Health Options clinic in Edmonton. 

Standards of care in hospitals are the responsibility of Alberta Health Services.

Standards of Care in non-hospital facilities are set by the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Alberta.

Procedures available in  Alberta include medical abortions (pharmaceutical induction of a miscarriage) and surgical abortions (including dilation and curettage and/or extraction) and, for terminations between 20 and 24 weeks, induction of labor. The latter are performed in hospital, generally because of fetal anomalies. Although a live fetus resulting from an elective termination of pregnancy is a rare occurrence, it can occur in later stage terminations by induced labor. Patients are counseled to this possibility.

No resuscitation efforts are made because of the futility of resuscitation of such small newborns. Rather, the child and mother are treated with dignity and respect, often with the mother holding the baby. Fetuses are handled in accordance with public health regulations for the disposal of biological material.

More than one elective termination in a lifetime is possible. Persons under the age of eighteen years who are determined by their physicians to have the capacity for mature understanding and judgment are entitled to consent to medical procedures and to privacy in regard to their condition and treatment.       

Vernon Peterson
Kingman, AB.
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