Photo credit Megane Callewaert

Key Messages

  1. Current restrictions won’t address existing challenges regarding access to abortion in Canada.  
  2. Provincial and Territorial governments must establish programs to ensure cost coverage of Mifegymiso in their insurance plans, with special coverage for those who do not have provincial/territorial health insurance. 
  3. The federal government could establish a program to cover all costs associated with Mifegymiso. This program could form the basis for a future national pharmacare strategy.
  4. Current restrictions must be revised, so as to: 
  • Extend gestational limits up to 10 weeks.
  • Remove physician-only dispensing requirements and examine ways to ensure appropriate task-shifting in the provision of medication abortion allowing and training other health professionals (such as nurse practitioners and midwives) to provide these services.
  • Remove mandatory ultrasound requirement. 
  • Remove physician supervision of patient administration requirement. 
  • Create a national, publically available registry of healthcare providers who are trained to prescribe Mifegymiso so those seeking the services, or those seeking to refer patients, know who is trained to prescribe the drug.

Crafting a Successful Op-Ed

The following information is taken from the Informed Opinions website. Informed Opinions is an organization working to amplify women’s voices in Canada. 

According to Informed Opinions, a good op-ed is a concise, timely, well-supported and accessible argument.

  • Concise usually means between 700 and 1000 words (depending on the publication). Publications are usually quite strict about word limitations. Before submitting an op-ed, check the publication’s website for guidelines.
  • Timely means it’s important now; it relates to a recent, current or upcoming news item.
  • Supported means you can back up your claims with convincing evidence.
  • Accessible means you do so in language that can be broadly understood. 

Typically, op-eds are broken down into the following components: 

  • Lede – an engaging first line or paragraph that ensures your compelling argument gets read. The competition for attention is fierce, so investing in a creative or provocative lede increases your chances of having an impact.
  • News hook – The way you make your argument relevant and answer the question – posed by editors and readers alike) – “why now?” Connecting your ideas or analysis to something that’s already a hot topic, or relates to a current issue, or upcoming event, increases its relevancy.
  • Thesis – Your basic argument, which doesn’t have to be explicitly stated but should be clear and original. A focused thesis also makes it easier for you to keep the piece within the tight guidelines usually required, gauging which supporting statements or evidence are most pertinent to your central claim.
  • Evidence – The support you use to back up the claims of your argument (this can be drawn from: statistics (from credible sources, government reports…), case studies and anecdotes, historical or international precedent, expert findings, judicial inquiries…, authoritative texts (peer reviewed research…), polling data, personal interviews, testimonials, eye witness reports, other credible and/or disinterested sources, personal experience, logic)
  • “To be sure” – Your acknowledgement of one or more counter arguments that those who disagree with you might make. When you include – and refute – the “other side”, it becomes harder for people to discount your claims.
  • Conclusion – Your strong close, which can restate your argument, offer a solution, or call people to action.
  • Your Credentials – This is provided at the bottom of your piece in one sentence (not three!)

Some tips to keep in mind when writing op-eds: 

  • avoid jargon and acronyms
  • avoid 75-word sentences
  • use active versus passive verbs
  • choose shorter words when possible
  • enliven theories or concepts with concrete examples and vivid analogies
  • submit the op-ed in the body of the email (avoid attachments) and include a short blurb about why they should publish the op-ed
  • Give it time. Editors receive lots of submissions and likely won’t get back to you right away. If you haven’t heard from the editor in a few days, don’t be shy go to give them a call (avoid repeated emails or calls).
  • It’s ok to give editor’s a timeline e.g., please let me know by…
  • Generally, you only pitch to one editor at a time. If you have bene waiting and do decide to pitch the op-ed to another source, let the first editor you pitched to know.

Pitching to Local Media

Some tips to keep in mind when pitching to media:

  • Know who you are pitching to: find out what the reporter’s “beat” is (topics they cover) – Is it health? Great fit! Is it sports? Pass.
  • Read articles: part of knowing who you are pitching to is reading what they’ve written (think themes, interests and how Mifegymiso could fit into the writer’s section/column).
  • Offer an interview: when pitching the story, offer yourself as an expert on the topic ready and willing to be interviewed.
  • Keep your pitch local: the best way to attract local media is making the connection to your community. 

Information to include:

  • Why your story is relevant to this news outlet/publication.
  • The main points of your story. Think key messages here, get to the point.
  • Any previous news coverage (with links!)
  • Your contact information