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Ontario women get free access to abortion pill as of Aug. 10

THE CANADIAN PRESS AND NEWS STAFF | posted Friday, Aug 4th, 2017

The abortion-inducing drug RU-486 is shown in Des Moines, Iowa, on Sept. 22, 2010. (AP photo/Charlie Neibergall) 

Women in Ontario will be able to get an abortion pill for free with a prescription as of Aug. 10.

Mifegymiso, an alternative to surgical abortion, is a combination of the drugs mifepristone and misoprostol.

It can be used to terminate pregnancies at an early stage, up to seven weeks from the start of a woman’s last menstrual period.

The window can be up to nine weeks. The drug can be used for a pregnancy with a “gestational age up to 49 days as measured from the first day of the Last Menstrual Period (LMP) in a presumed 28-day cycle,” according to a Government of Canada website.

The Ontario government says it will be available next Thursday at participating pharmacies for women with a valid health card and prescription.

“The commitment to publicly funding Mifegymiso means women across Ontario will have fair and equal access to safe abortion without payment, judgment or exception,” Indira Naidoo-Harris, Minister of the Status of Women, said in a statement on Thursday.

Dr. Eric Hoskins, the Minister of Health and Long-Term Care, said Queen’s Park is “safeguarding women’s right to choose … making it easier to access health care where and when they need it.”

However, one pro-life group says it’s that ‘when-and-where’ – as well as the entire issue of abortion – that has them concerned.

“We have great concerns about the abortion pill. It’s a type of procedure which interferes with the natural process of motherhood,” Diane Watts, a researcher at REAL Women, told CityNews on Thursday.

“There may be complications. To assume that if you’re in the country, away from a medical doctor or from a hospital, everything’s going to go extremely well is a bit of a stretch,” Watts said, adding that women could be “left on their own to deal with this situation, which could take days, which could be painful, which could be traumatic.”

Health Canada’s website says that there are already procedures in place for physician oversight.

The pill can only be dispensed by a physician. While the patient does not have to take the pill in front of their doctor, “anyone using the drug is required to attend appointments at a medical clinic at certain stages in treatment.” There can be complications, the government warns, and it is estimated that up to one in 20 women who use this drug will require a follow-up surgical procedure because their pregnancy is not successfully terminated.

New Brunswick and Alberta also cover Mifegymiso, and the Quebec government has said it hopes to do so.

Related links:

The abortion pill vs the morning-after pill: What’s the difference?

Health Canada fact sheet on Mifegymiso

What’s the difference between the morning-after pill and the abortion pill? (Planned Parenthood)

Related stories:

Counter-protesters target controversial anti-abortion demonstrators at Ryerson

Alberta latest province to cover the cost of abortion pill Mifegymiso

Ontario making abortion pill Mifegymiso free for all who need it


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