Photo credit Chris-Håvard Berge

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.

Tips for Requesting a Meeting

  • If you don’t hear back within 1-2 weeks, follow-up by email or with a phone call. 
  • If you’re not able to meet in person, suggest a phone conversation. 
  • You can also monitor the MP’s schedule (via Twitter or their website, to find out where they’ll be and when. Don’t hesitate to ask them questions during receptions, constituency town halls, etc.). 
  • Try and get the name of the MP’s assistant or person in charge of policy – they’re often more knowledgeable on specific issues and can facilitate meetings and information exchange.

IF YOU’RE SUCCESSFUL IN SECURING A MEETING: 

  • Tailor your message depending on what political party they represent. 
  • Do your research: know their political, professional and personal background - do they have a stated position on abortion? See list of “anti-choice” MPs here: www.arcc-cdac.ca/action/anti-choice-mps-2015-election.pdf
  • Bring relevant documentation (see background, key messages and infographic sections of this resource). 
  • Clearly articulate your Ask(s) (what are you looking to get out of this meeting? What role do you see the MP playing?).
  • Follow-up with a thank you and recap of agreed next steps (if relevant).  

SAMPLE EMAIL

Dear ________,

My name is ____________, with [if applicable – organization. About your organization].

As a supporter of Canada’s universal health care program, [I’m/we are] writing to express concern regarding the roll-out of the gold-standard drug ‘Mifegymiso,’ used for medical abortions.  

As you may know, people in Canada experience many challenges in accessing abortion services. The majority of clinics are located in urban areas within 150km from the US border. Only 1/6 hospitals provide abortion services. This means that many women have to travel long distance (sometimes out of country) at their own expense to access timely care. No medically necessary procedure should be so difficult to access.

Mifegymiso has the potential to overcome many of these barriers. Yet the drug was approved with unnecessary restrictions – including the requirement that only physicians dispense the drug (no other drug, including highly controlled substances, like narcotics, have this requirement). Mifegymiso will also only be available up until 7 weeks gestation, compared to 10 weeks like it is in the US. Cost will present another significant barrier. Mifegymiso is expected to be rolled-out at a cost of $300/regimen and provinces and territories have yet to include the drug in their insurance plans.

Together, these restrictions will severely impact access to a procedure which all people in Canada have a right to.

I welcome the opportunity to meet with you at your earliest convenience to discuss this issue. I can be reached at [email + phone number].

Thank you in advance and I look forward to hearing back from you soon,

[Name]