Action Canada for Sexual Health and Rights is thrilled that Alberta has implemented its cost coverage plan for the abortion pill, Mifegymiso. The announcement comes in the week following Action Canada’s abortion access panel with Alberta Health Minister Sarah Hoffman. The event that took place during the Council of the Federation, an annual meeting of the premiers of Canada.
Mifegymiso, the Canadian name-brand for the combination of Mifepristone and Misoprostol, is the World Health Organization’s gold standard for medical abortion and has been on its list of essential drugs for over a decade. The combination has been used for over 30 years with an outstanding safety and efficacy record and is available in over 60 countries around the world.
Last April, Alberta became the second of now four provinces to commit to cost coverage of Mifegymiso, which retails between $300-$450. Too many people in Canada still experience major barriers when needing to access abortion services. Alberta has shown exemplary leadership in implementing a program that recognizes the potential for Mifegymiso to address ongoing barriers and to increase health equality. The province has demonstrated that cost coverage is both necessary and possible. We expect all provincial and territorial governments to commit to cost coverage programs of at least the same calibre before the Health Ministers’ meeting this fall. This is a question of avoiding a two-tiered system of abortion access in Canada. We need universal cost coverage.
A future where all people in Canada can choose the highest quality medical services for free, must also include a push for a diversity of medical practitioners to become prescribers of Mifegymiso, including Nurse Practitioners. We need provinces like Alberta to continue to step up and remove barriers to choice. Because access to abortion shouldn’t depend on your postal code, or your income bracket.