Though abortions are provided in the Fort St. John Hospital, information about the process in town is not particularly accessible—particularly to any individuals without a family doctor. 

Access to abortion in remote and rural areas, including parts of northern Canada, is an issue across the country. In British Columbia, specialized abortion clinics providing either medical or surgical procedures only exist in the south of the province. There are five in total: three in Vancouver, one in Kelowna, and one in Victoria. Surgical abortions are not services every hospital in the province—or even every major hospital—performs. 

“B.C. has some of the most liberal abortion provisions in Canada,” said Dr. Ruth Habte, a gynecological resident physician in Vancouver. “But there is still quite the disparity in access.”

Issues of access—and even legality—have been brought into focus nation-wide after Roe v. Wade, the US Supreme Court’s decision that declared an abortion a constitutional right, was overturned last month. 

Though R v. Morgentaler, the Supreme Court of Canada ruling that decriminalizes abortion in the country (it does not make abortion a right, unlike Roe v. Wade) stands firm, efforts have been made by pro-life groups and politicians to regulate or prohibit abortion in Canada. reached out to healthcare providers and organizations who support pregnant people in Fort St. John about the process to obtain and the availability of abortions—both surgical and medical options—in the city. 

Northern Health confirmed that surgical abortions were performed in the Fort St. John hospital and, in a statement, expressed commitment to providing “a range of serivces and advice for pregnant women, including abortion services.”

“It is important that women understand all of the options available to them, and that they have the appropriate supports in place for their decisions,” Northern Health continued. The health authority did not comment on wait times or other limitations of service—such as limits in the gestational age of the pregnancy— in Fort St. John.