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Will Canada become Metro Detroit's closest abortion haven?

Hannah Mackay, The Detroit News on

Published in News & Features

Supply and demand

The main barriers Canadian abortion seekers face are a lack of information about where to go and potential travel-related difficulties, Millar said. There are fewer abortion facilities in rural areas and more in urban areas.

Toronto is a major hub of abortion clinics in the province of Ontario, said Egan with the Ontario Coalition of Abortion Clinics, adding that at the moment, they are not at capacity or overstretched.

"If they were to be overstretched, I think you would see clinics either expanding or new facilities being opened," Egan said.

Christabelle Sethna, a professor in the Institute of Feminist and Gender Studies at the University of Ottawa, agreed with that assessment.

"It may be that there are clinics specifically set up for Americans or parts of clinics specifically set up for Americans, depending upon the volume of the traffic of Americans coming north," Sethna said.


But abortions are functionally inaccessible for individuals without transportation, said Katie Nelson, a doula who offers abortion support services in Stratford, a more rural part of Ontario. She said she expects an increase in wait times if Americans flood the Canadian health care system.

"Here, the access, when it comes down to it, is not all it's made out to be at the end of the day," Nelson said. "I think it would increase a lot of wait times. Our health care system, in general, is not doing very well right now."

The COVID-19 pandemic exacerbated problems with the Canadian health care system, resulting in average wait times of 25.6 weeks for medically necessary procedures following referral in 2021, according to the Fraser Institute, a Canadian research group.

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