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Sask. government considering universal coverage of abortion pill
Published Friday, April 12, 2019 7:54AM CST
Last Updated Friday, April 12, 2019 10:09AM CST
The Opposition NDP is calling on the Saskatchewan Party government to offer universal coverage of the abortion pill.
Mifegymiso is covered in every Canadian province except Saskatchewan and is used to terminate pregnancies in the first nine weeks.
The pill has been added to the government’s drug plan, but coverage varies from patient to patient.
The NDP thinks it should be free for everyone.
“General practitioners can prescribe [it], nurse practitioners can prescribe [it],” NDP MLA Vicki Mowat said. “There is an opportunity to improve access across the province.”
Covering the cost of the drug is currently under review by the government.
“We’re certainly going to review it, look at it seriously,” Health Minister Jim Reiter said. “[The NDP] keep coming back to it’s an accessibility issue. It simply isn’t. It’s a case of who should pay for it.”
There are around 1,800 abortions performed at Saskatchewan hospitals each year, and the $300 pill is cheaper than a surgical abortion. It also eliminates the need for rural women to travel to a city hospital, which advocates say is an important consideration.
“What mifegymiso has the power to do is provide abortions for women in the support networks and comfort of their home communities,” medical student Lucy Karp said.
The government is three weeks into its review of whether or not the pill should be covered. The review includes budgetary implications for the province.
It’s not known when the decision will be made.