The Ontario provincial government announced on 3 August 2017 that the combination pack of mifepristone + misoprostol (Mifegymiso) is accessible through pharmacies for women with a health card and prescription from any physician or a nurse practitioner who has done an internet-based, six-hour training course on providing medical abortion.
Indira Naidoo-Harris, Minister of the Status of Women, Ontario, said: “We continue to make important progress helping women across Ontario gain access to the health care they need. The commitment to publicly funding Mifegymiso means women across Ontario will have fair and equal access to safe abortion without payment, judgment or exception.”
Medical abortion pills were approved by Health Canada in 2015, but they were only made available in January 2017. One by one since then each province has made them available and followed each other in covering the cost via provincial health coverage.
However, although the pills have been approved for home use in the USA up to ten weeks LMP, Canada restricts this to only seven weeks. An ultrasound check is also required to date the pregnancy. However, as Dr Marlene Spruyt, medical officer of health with Algoma Public Health in Ontario told the Sault Star, the method has been in use without any problem in other places in the world for years. She also pointed out that these barriers particularly complicate matters for those who live in rural areas where ultrasound equipment is not readily available.
Local Ontario pharmacies are reported to already have stocks of the combi-pack.