North

Yukon gov't to cover cost of abortion pill Mifegymiso

The Yukon government is covering the cost of Mifegymiso, a drug regime which induces an abortion. It's currently used in 30 countries. Health Minister Pauline Frost says many women prefer it over a surgical abortion, but cost has been a barrier.

Yukon Health Minister says universal coverage of the pill will 'reduce barriers'

Mifegymiso is a compound medication used to induce abortion. (Charlie Neibergall/Associated Press)

The Yukon government is going to cover the cost of Mifegymiso, medication that's commonly known as the "abortion pill."

Health minister Pauline Frost made the announcement yesterday in the legislative assembly.

Mifegymiso is actually a combination of two drugs that when taken, induce an abortion. It's used to medically terminate a pregnancy of up to nine weeks. It was approved for use in Canada in 2015.

Health Minster Pauline Frost says with the government covering the cost for the medication, now all women can access it, regardless of their financial situation.

"Mifegymiso will reduce barriers and create equal access to those seeking abortion," she said. "Mifyegymiso is often preferred to surgical abortions, but the higher cost of the drug makes it inaccessible for many patients."

The medication isn't cheap: it costs about $300 — still far less than the cost of a surgical abortion, which costs between $1200 and $1400, including the doctor's fee, operating room costs and anesthesiology, according to a spokesperson with the Yukon health department.

The government does cover the cost of a surgical abortion, which an average of 110 women receive in the territory each year.

Frost adds the abortion pill is far less invasive.

"It provides an alternative and that's why it's so important, it gives women an opportunity, and families an opportunity to make a choice." 

Mifegymiso is available from doctors in Whitehorse, Haines Junction, Dawson City and Watson Lake.

Women who live in other communities can get it  by visiting doctors in one of those four communities. 

About the Author

Raised in Ross River, Yukon, Nancy Thomson is a graduate of Ryerson University's journalism program. Her first job with CBC Yukon was in 1980, when she spun vinyl on Saturday afternoons. She rejoined CBC Yukon in 1993, and focuses on First Nations issues and politics. You can reach her at nancy.thomson@cbc.ca.