Manitoba and Saskatchewan, the last two provinces that were not funding Mifegymiso, the Canadian brand name for a combination of Mifepristone (RU-486), caved in June to pressure from pro-abortion activists.
On June 3, Manitoba’s status of woman minister Rochelle Squires announced her Progressive Conservative government would expand access to Mifegymiso. Manitoba already pays for the two-drug combination when it is dispensed at abortion facilities in Brandon and Winnipeg, but it will now implement a system to cover the cost of the abortion drug at all pharmacies.
“Our analysis shows that it is more cost-effective for women to stay in their own community to access reproductive health services, where possible,” Squires told the Canadian Press. “We also know that for many women, it is preferable to be able to stay in their community instead of coming into a place like Brandon or Winnipeg.”
Once the Manitoba government announced it would expand access to Mifepristone, there was growing pressure on the last province that did not provide full, universal coverage for the abortion pill that is used in the first nine weeks of pregnancy to kill a preborn child.
Within a week, Manitoba’s Prairie neighbour also caved. Saskatchewan Party health minister Jim Reiter announced June 7 that his government is fully covering Mifegymiso effective immediately, Global News reported.
The Saskatchewan government’s move came shortly after Manitoba’s Progressive Conservatives announced June 1 that it would be covering the cost of the two-drug combination.
Saskatchewan has been paying for medical abortions in some circumstances since 2017, with “registered low-income earners” eligible “for a $2 prescription” of the abortion drug, which has an estimated retail cost of $360, according to the CBC.
“This is a very divisive issue. It’s not going to be an issue (where) you can make everyone happy,” Reiter told Global News. “This is simply I’d say a less invasive way of doing that, and I hope people understand. These are [the] kind of issues not everyone is going to agree on. The decision is landed on now and we’re going to move forward,” he said.
A group of University of Saskatchewan medical students had been lobbying for full coverage of the abortion drug. Lara Witt, a member of the group, told Global News that women would “have to drive all the way to the centres” in Saskatoon and Regina “and go through approximately a million referrals” to abort their children. She claimed it was cheaper and safer than surgical abortions.
Megan Clark from Women’s Health Centre, the abortion facility at the Regina General Hospital, stated in a brief to the Ministry of Health that a medical abortion costs $450 less than a surgical abortion, Global News reported. Clark estimated that if Mifegymiso “was used for the 93 abortions the centre provided last year in the drug’s effective time frame, it would have saved $42,000 at the publicly funded facility,” it stated.
Saskatchewan’s rural and remote health minister, Greg Ottenbreit, green-lighted by Campaign Life Coalition as pro-life, said his views would not affect the coverage decision, Global News reported.
Pro-life groups have been warning for years that Mifegymiso is not only lethal to the unborn child, but dangerous for the mother. Heavy bleeding, nausea, vomiting, and painful uterine contractions are common side-effects of RU-486, one of the two drugs that make up Mifegymiso. As of 2011, fourteen U.S. women had died after taking RU-486, and a total of 2,207 reported adverse effects after using the drug have been noted, according to a report from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.
“Besides having the purpose of killing an innocent human being, Mifegymiso is also well-known to have dangerous side effects on the women who take it,” Campaign Life’s Josie Luetke told LifeSiteNews in an earlier interview.
That’s “especially concerning given the many rural women in Saskatchewan who do not have easy access to a hospital,” she said.
With files from LifeSiteNews.