The recently approved RU-486 abortion pill could make it much easier for women in Labrador to receive an abortion.
Presently, women in Labrador who require an abortion must travel to St. John's. However, the drug — approved by Health Canada in late July — could allow women to terminate a pregnancy in their own community.
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Sandy Kershaw, executive director of the Mokami Status of Women Council, said this would make a massive difference in the lives of Labrador women. She said RU-486 would eliminate hefty travel costs and allow a woman's decision to be more confidential.
"Women have been ostracized," Kershaw said. "Women have felt the pain of having to travel and leave support systems behind. And women have to come back to communities, and oftentimes there's the question of why were you gone for a couple of days?"
'A powerful and wonderful thing'
Kershaw said RU-486 will allow women in Labrador to receive an abortion in the company of people they know and trust.
"Women will often say that it is the most difficult thing they've ever done in their lives," she said.
"If we can help a woman, as a government, provide a safe drug that allows that woman to make a difficult choice in an easier more confidential way, closer to her support system, that is a very powerful and wonderful thing."
The Labrador-Grenfell Regional Health Authority is still determining how the drug will be administered in the region. However, Kershaw says that when those decisions are made, the Mokami Status of Women Council will put the information on its Facebook page.
Kershaw said she understands that not everyone agrees with the idea of making abortions more accessible, but said that the decision is ultimately a woman's personal choice.
"We're not trying to say to people, you need to have an abortion or you need to support this," she said.
"For some people that's never going to be part of their world view, and as an organization we completely respect that. But for those women who want a choice, who need choices, as women we deserve control over our own bodies."