Thanks to NDP lobbying, Canadians across the country no longer have to pay for the abortion pill. Up until recently, the pill was covered in nearly all Canadian provinces except for one. Now, it is available and completely free for anyone who needs it since this province has followed in the footsteps of others. The abortion pill is now covered in Saskatchewan by taxpayer funds.
The Saskatchewan government has finally decided to fully cover the cost of the abortion pill Mifegymiso. This universal coverage under the province’s drug plan will come into effect today on Friday, June 7, 2019.
Earlier this year, Health Canada made the pill a lot more accessible when it eliminated the need for women to have a prescreening ultrasound before a doctor could prescribe the pill.
Now, the pill will be even more accessible since Saskatchewan has hopped on board with the rest of the provinces to offer it free of cost. Prior to this regulation, Saskatchewan was the only Canadian province not covering the cost of the pill.
According to CBC, NDP MLA Vicki Mowat said on Monday that the government had no choice but to approve the universal coverage following Manitoba's announcement to do the same.
According to the Ministry of Health, from September 2017 to December 2018, 483 prescriptions of the abortion pill were given out in Saskatchewan. Out of those, 138 were covered either fully or partially by the province's drug plan.
A study of women seeking abortions conducted in 2013 found that 44.9 percent of the participants had to travel an hour or more to access abortion services. The same study suggests that barriers are often more apparent depending on a patient's race and class. For instance, Indigenous women “were almost three times more likely to report travelling over 100 km to access a clinic.”
Making them free and accessible will eliminate some of the already existing barriers that many women face when accessing medical care.
Back in 2015, the abortion pill was approved by Health Canada as an alternative to surgical abortion. Prior to this, the pills were already approved in more than 60 countries outside of Canada.