Friday, July 31, 2015

Abortion in Pill Form: The Future is Now!

Finally, the abortion pill is here. After years of bureaucratic hold ups and delays, Health Canada has approved for use in Canada a drug that millions of people have been taking safely in dozens of other countries for quite some time.

RU-486 (as it is commonly known in the States) is actually two drugs - mifepristone and misoprostol. Although they talked to some anti-choice ding-dongs, CBC does have a pretty good run down of what it is and how it works here:

RU-486: What you need to know about the recently approved abortion pill

What is so great about this in a Canadian context is that this is a big, spread out country, and a lot of the problems around access to abortion have to do with rural isolation and the lack of facilities, causing people seeking abortions to have to travel long distances to access them. Having the medication available means that abortion can happen outside of a clinic or hospital setting - namely, in your doctor's office.

It also means that some people who are able to, will choose medical abortion over surgical abortion - which frees up more surgical abortion spots and reduces wait times.

It's not perfect, of course - people without family doctors OR access to a clinic/hospital, or people with anti-choice doctors will still be stuck. Ideally we should fight for Canada to follow the WHO recommendations mentioned in the CBC article, to allow providers other than doctors to provide the pill. In my opinion it is ridiculous that nurse practitioners cannot already provide surgical abortions, honestly.

Regardless, this has been a long time coming and it will definitely change the landscape of abortion provision in Canada. As always, though, there is work to be done.