Abortion drug Mifegymiso faces additional restrictions

The campaign to reduce barriers to abortion access in Canada continues to face obstacles. A story published today in The Globe & Mail online reveals that the medical abortion drug Mifegymiso may not be covered by most provincial drug plans when it becomes available later this year.

Without drug coverage, people who wish to take Mifegymiso will have to pay anywhere from $270 to $300 out of pocket.

According to the Globe:

The funding impasse is just the latest obstacle for Canadian women who want to end their pregnancies with the pill originally known as RU-486, a drug that has been approved in more than 60 countries, including the United States, where it has been available since 2000.

Manufacturing problems have already delayed the sale of Mifegymiso in Canada for more than a year, while restrictive rules requiring doctors, not pharmacists, to distribute the pills directly to patients have abortion advocates warning that few physicians outside existing abortion clinics will go to the trouble of offering Mifegymiso in their offices.

Such barriers to access are unacceptable. Only a few days ago, our national partner Action Canada for Sexual Health & Rights published an inside look at the travel, expense, stigma, and shame faced by Canadians (especially those in rural communities) trying to access abortion.

When people call our Access Line about an abortion, they reasonably expect to find that service close to home. But all too often, I have to tell them that their nearest abortion provider is a significant distance away, sometimes hundreds of kilometers…Every day, I speak to women who must travel to get an abortion but can’t afford it.

In a heavily rural province like Nova Scotia, medical abortion options like Mifegymiso are crucial to providing accessible, affordable local care for people seeking an abortion. Without it, many Nova Scotians will still be burdened with unnecessary travel expenses, to say nothing of the many personal challenges that come with travelling for a medical procedure.

This medication should be available to Nova Scotians without unnecessary restrictions and out-of-pockets costs. Sexual Health Nova Scotia joins Action Canada in advocating for unrestricted access to safe abortion services for everyone.


WHAT YOU CAN DO

• This Thursday, September 28 is the International Day for the Decriminalization of Abortion. Consider marking this date by sharing this post or your own pro-choice message on your social media.

• Find more information on Mifegymiso and other abortion services at Action Canada for Sexual Health & Rights or Maritime Abortion Support Services.

• If you need an abortion or want to discuss your options, contact your nearest Sexual Health Centre for information and referral.

• SHNS is a pro-choice organization. Please donate so our Sexual Health Centres can continue to help individuals access the serves they need, free from shame or judgment.