Information about Abortion in Yukon:
If you are pregnant, you have options. If you are trying to decide if abortion is the right choice for you, you may have many things to think about. Learning the facts about abortion can help you in making your decision.
How do I arrange for an abortion?
If you are pregnant and seeking an abortion, contact your health care provider as soon as you can, to set up an appointment for a checkup and to discuss your options.
If you don’t have a doctor, you can contact any of the clinics listed below to make an appointment. You will be seen as soon as possible, and arrangements will be made through the clinic for an ultrasound to help date the pregnancy.
Women, caregivers or other health care workers can call any of the numbers below to set up an abortion referral for themselves or for a client. The doctor visits and the abortion procedure are free as long as you have a valid Yukon Health Card.
In Whitehorse, Watson Lake and Dawson, your doctor or a nurse practitioner can refer you to a physician who performs surgical abortions. Your own doctor may be able to offer a medical abortion without a referral.
In other Yukon communities, a family doctor or rural nurse practitioner can refer you to the doctors in Whitehorse who perform surgical abortions OR women can call the clinics below themselves. Travel costs are covered for medical procedures.
Yukon Sexual Health Clinic - 406 Lambert St, Whitehorse, 393-6635, www.facebook.com/YSHCwhitehorse, Drop in Tuesdays 5-7pm, or call for an appointment
Klondyke Medical Clinic – 302 Ogilvie St, Whitehorse, 668-4046 klondykemedical.ca
Whitehorse Medical Clinic – 406 Lambert St, Whitehorse 393-6646 www.wmsl.net
River Valley Medical Clinic – 106 Lambert St, Whitehorse, 667-6491
Do I have to tell my parents?
The law in the Yukon says that you don’t need your parents’ permission to get an abortion (or any other health care) as long as you are able to understand the procedure, the pros and cons and risks and benefits. Health care providers and counsellors will keep all information confidential.
What kinds of abortion are available?
There are two kinds of abortions available in the first 12 weeks (first-trimester) of pregnancy in Yukon: surgical abortion (also called vacuum aspiration), or medical abortion (also called medication abortion). You can discuss with your doctor which method is right for you.
If you are less than 7 weeks into the pregnancy, you may be eligible for a medical abortion. A medical abortion involves taking medication prescribed by a doctor at home, after you have had a dating ultrasound. In a medication abortion, the pregnancy is interrupted and expelled over the course of a few days. Not all doctors offer medical abortions.
After a medication abortion, most clinics require a follow-up visit to confirm that the abortion is complete. The doctor will do a physical examination, ultrasound or blood pregnancy test.
In Yukon, all surgical abortions are performed at Whitehorse General Hospital. The surgical abortion is done by vacuum aspiration, where suction is used to remove the pregnancy.
If you choose a surgical abortion, your doctor will make an appointment for you with one of the physicians who do the surgical abortions. Surgical abortion services are only provided twice a month in Whitehorse, so you may have to wait.
Your appointment with the doctor who performs surgical abortions will occur the day before the actual procedure. They will discuss pregnancy options, your medical history, and options for birth control. A short physical exam will be performed.
The surgical (aspiration) abortion will occur the next day at Whitehorse General Hospital. The abortion itself takes about 10 minutes, but you will be at the hospital for most of the morning. The operation is usually done with local freezing but it is possible to have the procedure done under a light general anaesthetic. You can discuss this with the doctor. Depending on the procedure, the type of anesthesia you had, and how you are feeling, you may stay in the recovery area from 20 minutes to an hour or more. If you had IV sedation or general anesthesia, you will need someone to drive or accompany you home.
Abortion outside the Yukon
If a woman is over 12 weeks but under 20 weeks into her pregnancy, she is sent outside the territory to Vancouver, Edmonton or Calgary. Your doctor will help you make appointments and arrangements. Travel costs are covered.
Most second-trimester abortions are done by dilation and evacuation (D&E), which involves dilation of the cervix and the use of instruments and suction. Alternatively, women who are more than 20 weeks pregnant may have the option for an induction abortion using medications that cause the pregnancy to be expelled.
- What happens after the abortion?
Before you leave, the staff will provide information about what to expect over the next few days and what signs to look for that might indicate a complication. Most women feel fine and do not have any problems after an abortion, but it’s also normal to feel tired or to have cramps for several days.
Having an abortion is safe, and very few women experience complications. Although the health risks of abortion increase with gestational age of the pregnancy, the complication rates are still very low. You can receive follow-up care from your family doctor or any of the counselors or helplines below.
Emotionally, most women report feeling relief after an abortion, but it is also perfectly normal to have mixed or even negative feelings.
Discussing Pregnancy Options:
You may want to discuss your feelings and options with a trusted friend or a counsellor or supportive health care provider. There are many resources available in Whitehorse that can help you with your decision, or offer support after an abortion:
Many Rivers Counseling - www.manyrivers.yk.ca
Call 867-667-2970 for an appointment, or drop in Wednesdays 10-4
Victoria Faulkner’s Women’s Centre
Call 667-2693, or drop-in, 503 Hanson Street
Yukon Sexual Health Clinic - 406 Lambert St, Whitehorse 393-6635, www.facebook.com/YSHCwhitehorse, Drop in Tuesdays 5-7pm, or call for an appointment
Kwanlin Dun Helath Centre - www.kwanlindun.com/health/section/services
(For members of the Kwanlin Dun First Nation only). Call for an appointment, 663-7800
Yukon Sexual Health Information Line - http://www.bettertoknow.yk.ca/
National Abortion Federation (NAF) Hotline - prochoice.org/think-youre-pregnant/naf-hotline, 1-800-772-9100
Yukon 811 Health Line – http://www.hss.gov.yk.ca/811.php, Diall 811