The New Brunswick government has announced it will provide the controversial abortion pill combination Mifegymiso free of charge.
“By making Mifegymiso available free of charge for all New Brunswick women, our government is ensuring that financial barriers do not stand in the way of a woman’s right to choose,” said Health Minister Victor Boudreau.
Surgical abortions are covered by the provincial health plan, but usually drugs are not. Mifegymiso is two drugs. Mifepristone is given first and halts the body’s production of progesterone, effectively starving the unborn child to death. Within 48 hours, the woman takes the Misoprostol, which causes the uterus to contract and expel the dead baby. The market price for the combo is $300.
“This is very sad news that the region of Canada that has shown the greatest respect for life is now showing the greatest hostility to it,” said Jack Fonseca of the Campaign Life Coalition.
Until the election of the Liberal government of Brian Gallant in 2015, New Brunswick only funded an abortion after two doctors declared it medically necessary. As a result, only about 600 taxpayer-funded abortions were done there annually. Another 400 were paid for privately.
However, Gallant made expanding access to abortion an election plank. Since then, he has removed the requirement for doctors’ approval and added a third facility to the two hospitals where abortions could be done previously.
However, also since 2015, the abortion pill RU-486, or Mifegymiso, won the approval of Health Canada. It has been sold in Canada since January. The Canadian Agency for Drugs and Technologies in Health is now reviewing it to determine whether to recommend it for funding by provincial health plans, as only a few essential drugs are.
New Brunswick has pre-empted that process. “We have been at the bottom of the list in regards to this issue for decades,” Canadian Press reported Boudreau as saying. But now, “It’s our government that is … breaking down barriers.”
Pro-abortion groups lobbied across Canada for Mifegymiso’s approval, arguing that it will reduce the hardship faced by rural women who have to drive for hours to abort their babies surgically in hospitals.
“We do think that we’re going to see this improve access for women and trans folks in rural areas, and this could also be particularly helpful for those living in violent situations,” said Beth Lyons of the New Brunswick Women’s Council.
However, CLC’s Fonseca said the abortion pill will actually make it worse for women living in abusive situations. “For girls who are being sexually abused by people with some control over their lives, abortion is a way to keep the abuse secret for years,” he told LifeSiteNews.
“In many cases, it is only when the girl becomes pregnant that the abuse comes out and is stopped,” he said. While the abuser could arrange a surgical abortion for his victim in the past to cover up his crime, the abortion pill will make the cover-up much easier, Fonseca argued.
“The introduction of this pill is not progress, it is regressive,” he added. “It puts young women at great physical and mental health risk.”
Health Canada has listed those risks beginning with the most obvious side effect, which is bleeding. “The average bleeding time,” reported Health Canada, “was 10.8 days, including two days of heavy bleeding.”
It went on, “The medication causes vaginal bleeding and commonly induced pain and cramping, which required pain medication in some women.”
Other common after-effects are diarrhea (in 59 percent of cases), “fever/chills (44 percent), nausea (31 percent), vomiting (22 percent), weakness (20 percent), headache (12 percent) and dizziness (13 percent). The most frequent severe AEs were vomiting (20 percent), fever/chills (20 percent) and headache (17 percent).”
As well, Mifegymiso had a “treatment failure” in up to 4 percent of cases. That meant that a living baby remained in the womb, requiring “a surgical termination of pregnancy.”