Why the abortion pill is more important than ever during the coronavirus
There could be an increase in unintended pregnancies just as abortion becomes less available, putting women who are self-isolating in abusive situations at higher risk
By Michelle Cohen
April 29, 2020
While COVID-19 has prompted widespread discussion (and in some cases fiery debate) about medications such as hydroxychloroquine, azithromycin and remdesivir, one drug which may be of great consequence during the pandemic has seldom been mentioned: Mifegymiso, also known as the “abortion pill.”
Reproductive health advocates began sounding the alarm last month that access to abortion in this country is shrinking. Action Canada for Sexual Health and Rights reported that calls to its 24-hour hotline increased by 30 per cent in late March, with many of those phoning in were distressed about not being able to schedule an abortion or acquire contraception.
Abortion-pill obstacles: How doctors’ reluctance and long-distance travel stop many Canadians from getting Mifegymiso
Two years ago, Canada was one of the last developed countries to make available a drug hailed as a safe alternative to surgical abortion. But it’s still out of reach for many beyond the major cities, a Globe analysis has found
Carly Weeks Health Reporter
July 13, 2019
The Globe and Mail
Doctors across Canada are refusing to write prescriptions for the abortion pill, forcing many women to travel to out-of-town clinics to get a prescription, according to a Globe and Mail analysis that reveals provincial access barriers and widespread reluctance on the part of medical professionals to provide abortion care.
Mifegymiso Can Be Prescribed Without An Ultrasound: Health Canada
"Health care practitioners across Canada have been asking for removal for this restriction."
By Maija Kappler
Apr 17, 2019
Canadian doctors are no longer required to perform an ultrasound before prescribing medicine that will end unwanted pregnancies. Experts say the change will eliminate a significant barrier to abortion access, particularly for women living in rural areas who often had to travel major distances or wait long periods of time before they could get ultrasounds.
Health Canada made the announcement that an ultrasound was no longer required before a doctor could prescribe Mifegymiso, the "abortion pill," in a press release on Tuesday.
Ultrasound no longer required before patients can access abortion pill: Health Canada
By Amanda Connolly National Online Journalist (Politics) Global News
Apr 16, 2019
Doctors in Canada can now prescribe Mifegymiso — otherwise known as the abortion pill — without needing to conduct an ultrasound.
Health Canada removed one of the remaining barriers to access of the pill on Tuesday, which women’s health advocates have argued places a disproportionate burden on rural and precariously employed or low-income women for whom access to ultrasound clinics and multiple medical appointments (and the associated time off work required to get to them) within a short time period can be very difficult.
Two-pill abortion drug Mifegymiso prescribed at least 13,000 times since becoming available in Canada
Since Alberta began covering the cost of Mifegymiso last July, at least 2,190 doses have been prescribed — the overwhelming majority of them in Calgary
October 15, 2018
EDMONTON — It was Calgary’s Kensington clinic that prescribed the first dose of Mifegymiso, the two-pill abortion drug, after it became available in Canada in January 2017.
“When it arrived on our doorstep, we had a patient that day and we offered it to her; we were ready to go,” said clinic executive director Celia Posyniak.
Abortion-pill inequality: How access varies widely across Canada
Two years after Canadians got access to Mifegymiso, some regions have seen thousands of prescriptions, but others have had hardly any, according to figures obtained by The Globe and Mail. The numbers point to deeply rooted problems in regional abortion care
October 12, 2018
Women’s health advocates have hailed the abortion pill as the key to eliminating barriers to abortion in Canada because it can be prescribed by a family doctor and taken at home, no matter where a woman lives. Yet, nearly two years after Mifegymiso became available, many women still have to travel to abortion clinics, endure lengthy waits and pay out-of-pocket if they want to use it to end their pregnancies.
Prescribing data provided to The Globe and Mail show large regional disparities in access to the abortion pill, which the World Health Organization says is a safe and effective method of terminating pregnancies in the first nine weeks. In Manitoba, where nearly 4,000 abortions are performed every year, no prescriptions for Mifegymiso have been dispensed from retail pharmacies since it came on the market, according to the data. But in Ontario, which has about 40,000 abortions every year, more than 6,600 prescriptions were dispensed last year and this year, up to August, 2018.
Abortion expert urges Nova Scotia to drop ultrasound rule if access slowed
Published September 26, 2018
The lead author of Canada’s national guidelines on drug-induced abortion says Nova Scotia should drop the practice of insisting on an ultrasound when it results in delays in providing the procedure.
The issue was raised this week after The Globe and Mail reported that Nova Scotia’s only abortion clinic is not allowed to perform ultrasounds to determine how far along a pregnancy is, leaving women to wait days or weeks for an appointment at the hospital’s diagnostic imaging unit. In an essay published Saturday, reporter Jessica Leeder outlined the challenges she faced earlier this year in obtaining a medical abortion. Ms. Leeder was told she would need to wait about two weeks for an ultrasound before a doctor could prescribe the abortion drug Mifegymiso. She eventually travelled out of province and paid out of pocket to have a timelier abortion.
Abortion pill prescriptions likely to rise after 4,253 women used new option last year
By Amanda Connolly, National Online Journalist Global News
April 27, 2018
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.
Mifegymiso is the commercial name for a two-drug combination approved by Health Canada to be used to terminate early pregnancies up to nine weeks, which was approved in 2015 with tight restrictions but only became available to the public in January 2017.
Health Canada approves abortion pill use up to nine weeks
Update to product monograph comes after health advocates warned current rules too restrictive
Kyle Duggan and Amanda Connolly
Tuesday, November 7th, 2017
Women seeking an abortion in Canada will now be able to use the abortion pill up to nine weeks into a pregnancy.
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.
Health Canada eases restrictions on abortion pill Mifegymiso
Sheryl Ubelacker, The Canadian Press
Published Tuesday, November 7, 2017 2:34PM EST
TORONTO -- Women who want to use the abortion pill Mifegymiso can now take it farther along in their pregnancy, Health Canada said Tuesday in announcing changes to how the medication is prescribed and dispensed.
The federal department said the abortion pill can now be prescribed up to nine weeks into a pregnancy, rather than the previous limit of seven weeks.