K-W pharmacies, doctors now dispensing abortion pill

While access to Mifegymiso in southwestern Ontario can be difficult, the Onyx Urgent Care Clinic in Kitchener is able to prescribe the drug and a few local pharmacies are now stocking the pill.

As of Aug. 3, the abortion pill, Mifegymiso, is free in Ontario

Mifegymiso is the two drug treatment Ontario is making free so people can end their pregnancies, but so far it is not widely available. (CBC)

Starting today the abortion pill, Mifegymiso, is available in Ontario at no cost to patients. 

Access in southwestern Ontario is spotty, but CBC K-W has learned the Onyx Urgent Care Clinic in Kitchener is able to prescribe Mifegymiso and a few local pharmacies are now stocking the medication.

"We're so proud to offer this to women in the region and surrounding areas because this is a massive advancement in women's reproductive rights," said Cait Desilets, the clinic's executive director. 

She said her clinic sees "many" women who find themselves unexpectedly pregnant and don't want to follow through with the pregnancy. 

"We realize that this is something that's controversial, but at the end of the day, especially as health care providers, it's our job to be non-judgemental."

All doctors at Onyx completed training

In order to prescribe Mifegymiso, doctors must complete a six-hour online course designed by the Society of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists of Canada. 

Desilets said all of her clinic's doctors completed the training last week, as has their on-site pharmacist.

According to the SHORE Centre – formerly Planned Parenthood of Waterloo Region – one other local family doctor has also been certified to prescribe Mifegymiso. 

The government announced the cost of the pill would be covered by the province on Aug. 3, saying this would give women more control over their own reproductive health and reduce barriers in access to abortion, especially in rural and remote areas. 

1 in 20 will still need medical abortion

Health Canada approved the drug more than two years ago, but the cost — at $337.25 a pill — and scarcity made it difficult to access for many.

In Waterloo region, people looking to access Mifegymiso used to have to travel to Toronto for two separate visits, and pay for it themselves. 

The pill is a two-drug combination of Mifepristone and Misoprostol. It can be used to terminate pregnancies up to 49 days but Health Canada says it isn't a guarantee. 

"It is estimated that up to 1 in 20 women who use this drug will require a follow-up surgical procedure because their pregnancy is not successfully terminated."  

With files from Kate Bueckert