Health PEI drops ultrasound requirement for abortion drug

Women who want the abortion medication Mifegymiso will no longer be required by Health PEI to get an ultrasound.

Many patients will still need ultrasound, says Health PEI

Mifegymiso is only allowed up to nine weeks into a pregnancy. (Linepharma International)

Women who want the abortion medication Mifegymiso will no longer be required by Health PEI to get an ultrasound.

Health Canada dropped the requirement in April, after the company that sells the drug changed their guidelines.

Some abortion access advocates, including ones on P.E.I., had been lobbying for the change. They were concerned the requirement was causing barriers for women in rural areas. Ultrasounds are only available at the hospitals in Charlottetown and Summerside. 

Rachelle Pike, manager of women's wellness program and sexual health services for Health PEI, said while the requirement has been dropped, women in about 70 per cent of the cases in the last two months have still been given ultrasounds.

"There will always be some patients that require the ultrasound," said Pike.

"If you just don't know when your last missed period was, or if you're on hormonal contraception. You know, it's just different clinical indications, and we want to ensure that everybody is getting the best care."

Pike said Health Canada only allows Mifegymiso up to nine weeks into the pregnancy.

She encourages women outside Charlottetown and Summerside to call the clinic and talk to a staff member if getting access to an ultrasound is a problem. 

Pike said about 400 abortions have been provided at the Women's Wellness clinics since 2017, with about a quarter using the drug Mifegymiso. 

More P.E.I. news

With files from Island Morning


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