There are two types of abortion in Canada: surgical abortion and medical abortion. Medical abortion uses medication rather than an internal procedure to end a pregnancy. Both are safe procedures with exceptionally low complication rates and are not known to affect future pregnancies.
In July of 2015, after one of its lengthiest drug approval processes on record, Health Canada approved the abortion pill Mifegymiso. Mifegymiso is the Canadian brand name for the combination of the medications Mifepristone and Misoprostol. This combination of medications is set to replace the regimen that has been used in Canada up until now to provide a medical abortion. Before the approval of Mifepristone, health care providers who offered medical abortion care were using a combination of Methotrexate prescribed off-label and Misoprostol. While the overall success rates, side effects and low complications rates are similar for both regimens, abortions induced with Mifepristone are offered ‘on-label’, can be offered later in gestation and complete faster than those induced with Methotrexate.
The combination of Mifepristone and Misoprostol is the World Health Organization’s recommended method for medical abortion and has been on its list of essential drugs since 2005. Mifepristone has been used for close to 30 years with an outstanding safety and efficacy record and is available in over 60 countries around the world. Making it available to people in Canada is an important step in ensuring access to the best possible care when it comes to sexual and reproductive health services.