Cost coverage is a crucial first step to ensure people can access Mifegymiso. That said, right now, policies and regulations that rule abortion access or the handling of Mifegymiso can still make access to it really difficult. Can nurse practitioners prescribe Mifegymiso in your province? Do you still need to travel hundreds of kilometers to find a health care provider who prescribes it? Can abortions be accessed only in hospitals in your region? Can pharmacies dispense it in your area?
As Mifegymiso becomes available free of charge in some provinces, steps need to be taking from all fronts to ensure abortion services are accessible for all people in Canada.
Here are the steps we need to see from different actors
Provincial, territorial and federal governments
1. Follow the lead of Alberta, New Brunswick and Ontario and ensure that once a pledge is made, Mifegymiso is available in the timeliest way possible.
2. Remove policies that compromise access to abortion. For example, New Brunswick needs to start funding abortions and ultrasounds provided outside of hospitals.
3. Provide programs that ensure Mifegymiso is accessible for all, not just a few of us, such as medical abortion by telemedicine and in clinics where undocumented or uninsured patients can access care.
4. Examine ways to support appropriate task-shifting in the provision of medical abortion, to allow and train other health professionals (such as nurse practitioners and midwives) to provide these services.
5. Ensure the safety and integrity of Mifegymiso prescribers and all abortion providers by introducing Bubble Zone legislation that reflect the needs and demands of health care providers working both from and outside of abortion clinics and/or hospitals.
6. Ensure health care providers (including new prescribers and other providers like those offering ultrasounds) receive the necessary support to offer Mifegymiso in a timely way, including in remote and rural areas. This means supporting practitioners who need guidance, supporting communities of practice and developing the appropriate resources for prescribers to feel empowered to offer this service.
Professional bodies regulating physicians and pharmacists
1. Follow the lead of the physician and pharmacy regulatory colleges in the provinces of British Columbia, Ontario, Nova Scotia, Alberta and Saskatchewan to provide guidelines that support pharmacist dispensing directly to the patient.
2. Avoid introducing further restrictions to further control the prescribing and dispensing of Mifegymiso in addition to those already put in place by Health Canada.
3. Support members in becoming prescribers and dispensers by ensuring that they receive the training and material they need as well as ensure they are connected to communities of practice.
Professional bodies regulating nurse practitioners
1. Follow the lead of the College of Nurses of Ontario, the first nursing governing body to support their Nurse Practitioners to prescribe Mifegymiso. The college has stated that Nurse Practitioners who have the knowledge, skill and judgment to prescribe Mifegymiso and who can manage all possible outcomes are legally authorized to prescribe it. Similarly, the College of Nurses of the Yukon supports independent prescribing of Mifepristone by Nurse Practitioners.
2. Support members in becoming prescribers and dispensers by ensuring that they receive the training and material they need as well as ensure they are connected to communities of practice.
All health care providers
including doctors, nurse practitioners and pharmacists
1. Ensure medical abortion becomes a part of your practice so people’s access to a complete package of sexual and reproductive health goods and services doesn’t depend on where they live. Click here to join this community of practice and get to know other professionals like you who prescribe or dispense Mifegymiso in their communities!
Confused about the Mifegymiso regulations in your province?
Our colleagues at the Canadian Abortion Providers Support created this handy map to help us get a clear picture of the different regulations currently in place.