Canadian Health Minister Says All Alberta Women Should Have Free Abortion Pill Access

20th July 2017

Each woman living in Alberta should have a universal access to the new medical abortive theory, irrespective of their status, whether they have provincial health insurance, commented Albertas health minister.

She further added that an announcement about how the Alberta government will cover the costs of Mifegymiso, a set of abortion pills, will be coming very soon, possibly within two weeks time period. Any women who live in Alberta, regardless where they live or whether they were a citizen yet, they would have the right to access abortion, she said at a panel discussion at Chateau Lacombe Hotel, speaking about Mifegymiso.

This includes refugees, college-university students covered by other provincial health programs as well as other women should all have free access to abortion pills, said the health minister.

What Is Mifegymiso ?

Mifegymiso is a two drug combination kit that ends an early gestation pregnancy. It contains two different drugs, called Mifepristone and Misoprostol. The kit was approved by the health ministry in July 2015, which was nearly 30 years later after it had been approved in some European countries.

The first pill in the combination is the Mifepristone or RU-486 was new to Canada. After manufacturing delay, it hit the Canadian market in January this year and is proposed to replace one of the drugs that are being presently used for medical abortions. Although it is permitted to terminate pregnancies that are only within 7 weeks, advocates say this limit should be extended to at least 9 weeks. Meanwhile, the pills are used with 10 weeks limit safely in countries elsewhere.

Barriers still remain

Pro-choice groups say that there are still substantial barriers to access Mifegymiso, which includes the price of the drug, ranging from $300 to $450. This is one of the reasons why women buy abortion pills online, as well.

If used to its full potential, however, the pill could be a game changer in how Albertas women access of pregnancy termination. It will make pregnancy termination much more accessible to women who cannot access surgical clinics and save the healthcare cost that goes into surgery as well.

Although the ministry is relaxing its restrictions on mifegymisos prescription and distribution, there several other factors that are stopping women [especially in rural and remote regions] from accessing the therapy, said an executive director of a renowned pro-choice charitable organization.

The price should be covered up front, not recompensed later so that cash doesnt become a problem for access, he said.

A step in the right direction

Once a place which pro-choice group targeted due to its many abortion restrictions, New Brunswick in earlier this July became the first province to offer free abortion therapy to women with provincial health cared.

Speaking before the Tuesdays panel, the New Brunswick premier opined that equality was crucial to the province economic development and has been a priority for his government. He commented that access to essential medical services should not be defined by someones income bracket.


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