Newfoundland and Labrador facing renewed pressure to cover abortion pill Mifegymiso

Newfoundland and Labrador facing renewed pressure to cover abortion pill Mifegymiso

Newfoundland and Labrador — the only province that does not provide at least partial coverage of the abortion pill — is under renewed pressure to do so.

Medical students and practitioners have written an open letter to the premier and health department asking for universal coverage of Mifegymiso, as well as supportive resources for physicians prescribing the drug.

Sask. health covers 56 prescriptions of abortion pill, no plans to introduce universal coverage

Sask. health covers 56 prescriptions of abortion pill, no plans to introduce universal coverage

Six out of 10 Canadian provinces offer universal  coverage for the abortion pill Mifegymiso, but Saskatchewan's Ministry of Health confirms it's not looking at joining them. 

In an email to CBC News, a ministry spokesperson said Mifegymiso or RU-486 is covered the same way as other prescription medications in the province.

"Someone who's located in Alberta now has better access to abortion. Someone in Saskatchewan still has very patchy access to abortion," explained Frederique Chabot, director of Health promotion for Action Canada for Sexual Health and Rights.

Abortion pill prescriptions likely to rise after 4,253 women used new option last year

Abortion pill prescriptions likely to rise after 4,253 women used new option last year

One year after the abortion pill became available to Canadian women, new numbers show thousands have used the new option for reproductive health care and sexual health experts say they expect that number to keep rising.

While advocates say there is still much work to be done to improve access to the drug, they told Global News they’re encouraged to see the demand for the medication among Canadian women seeking abortions.

“It was really great to see that number,” said Frederique Chabot, director of health promotion for Action Canada for Sexual Health and Rights.

“Until the month of November, there were really strict requirements in terms of who could prescribe Mifegymiso, who could dispense it. There are now six provinces that have universal cost coverage but that wasn’t the case for 2017.”

Abortion pill prescribed more than 4,000 times in Canada last year

Abortion pill prescribed more than 4,000 times in Canada last year

Doctors issued more than 4,000 prescriptions for the abortion pill Mifegymiso to Canadian women in 2017 — the first year it was available in Canada.

It's very encouraging," said Frederique Chabot, director of health promotion for Action Canada for Sexual Health and Rights, a non-profit, pro-choice agency.

Chabot said Mifegymiso can offer abortion access to women who live far from hospitals and clinics providing surgical abortions.

"When I think of women, for example, in Nunavik in Quebec who have to travel to Montreal to seek care — that's a plane ride and days away from your family, days away from your community and work. So we have a chance now to address some access issues," she said.

But while she said she's happy the drug was prescribed more than 4,000 times — even though the restrictions were only lifted last November — she added not all women in Canada have equal access to the pill.

Abortion pill popular alternative to surgery, says owner of St. John's clinic

Abortion pill popular alternative to surgery, says owner of St. John's clinic

The owner of a private abortion clinic in St. John's says she expects an abortion pill to become increasingly popular as an alternative to surgery.

Rolanda Ryan of the Athena Health Centre says 35 people have taken Mifegymiso, which has been available for just over a year from her clinic, and she expects to see a lot more interest in coming years.

B.C. joins the ranks of provinces offering abortion drug Mifegymiso

B.C. joins the ranks of provinces offering abortion drug Mifegymiso

British Columbia will offer universal access to a medical abortion drug in a move that women's-health advocates say will particularly benefit those who live in rural and remote communities where abortion services are lacking.

NDP health critic questions why attorney general is answering abortion related questions

NDP health critic questions why attorney general is answering abortion related questions

Mifegymiso is covered for women on certain social assistance programs. Doctors also need special training to provide prescriptions for the pill. Chartier said under 60 doctors in the province have undergone the voluntary training.

Health Canada eases restrictions on abortion pill Mifegymiso

Health Canada eases restrictions on abortion pill Mifegymiso

Ottawa is making it easier for women to get the abortion pill, relaxing rules around who can prescribe the drug and at what stage of pregnancy a woman can take it – changes that catapult Canada among the world's most liberal jurisdictions in terms of obtaining the medication.

Health Canada approves abortion pill use up to nine weeks

Health Canada approves abortion pill use up to nine weeks

Health Canada updated its product monograph for Mifegymiso, the two-drug combination of pills that doctors can prescribe to women who want a medical abortion. The current monograph, approved in July 2015 after years of delays, states that Mifegymiso is safe for use up to seven weeks into a pregnancy — even though most countries that have legalized the abortion pill use a 10-week limit.