British Columbia becomes the sixth province to pledge cost coverage, joining Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Alberta, Ontario and Quebec. The biggest provinces in Canada have now proven by example that cost coverage for medical abortion is both necessary and possible. By neglecting to follow their lead, Manitoba, Saskatchewan, Prince Edward Island, Newfoundland, Yukon, Northwest Territories and Nunavut are leaving many of their residents with compromised access to an essential health service.
Action Canada is calling upon the remaining provinces and the federal government to work together to end two-tiered, unequal access to abortion in Canada.
In British Columbia, the pledge will help to alleviate existing inequities and gaps in access to abortion. To date, abortion providers are geographically concentrated in Vancouver and Victoria, with five dedicated clinics. Women and trans folk near Cranbrook, Kelowna and Trail clinics can also self-refer, and abortions are accessible at some hospitals, but this leaves most of the province completely unserved.
British Columbia announced their plan today in a bulletin and cost coverage will begin in two weeks. Any person with a BC Care card will be able to receive the pill for free at a pharmacy with a prescription. The province is also putting resources towards ensuring that pharmacists are aware of the details and regulations around these changes. We encourage the province to build awareness among health practitioners and the general public that the gold standard for medical abortion is now available.
By removing the cost barrier, BC is offering more choice for people facing unintended pregnancies and more equitable access to a timely medical service. Mifegymiso, which retails between $350-$400, creates an opportunity to address the enduring problem of unequitable access to abortion in rural and remote parts of Canada where surgical options don’t exist.
All people are entitled to comprehensive reproductive health services across Canada, regardless of postal code or income bracket.
Real choice requires real access. #RealAccessNow