Sudbury

Recently approved abortion pill gives northern Ontario women 'options'

Women in northeastern Ontario may soon have better access to abortion services, after Health Canada approved the use of the abortion pill this week.

Health Canada approves pregnancy terminating pill 2½ years after drugmaker's application

The abortion-inducing drug RU-486, actually a two-pill therapy, has been approved for use in Canada. (Charlie Neibergall/Canadian press)

Women in northeastern Ontario may soon have better access to abortion services, after Health Canada approved the use of the abortion pill this week.

Currently, surgical abortions are not available in Timmins and many smaller communities in the region. Women often have to travel hours to reach a hospital or clinic that can do the procedure.

But as early as 2016, women will be able to get a prescription from their doctor for the abortion pill.

"The fact that they can now be given a prescription for a chemical abortion is absolutely fantastic news for women all across the country, but specifically for women in rural and isolated areas," said Julie Lalonde, spokesperson with Abortion Rights Coalition of Canada.

...we may have options for these women.- Laurie Dagg-Labine, Porcupine Health Unit

"Rural, isolated, on-reserve women, women who don't have access to a full sexual health clinic — they will now have access. That's astounding."

The Porcupine Health Unit's Laurie Dagg-Labine said she sends several women a month down south for abortions.

Those women have to foot the bill for transportation and accommodation.

"The possibility is kind of exciting for us, in that we may have options for these women," she said.

"We feel the frustrations and we see the difficulties that they have in accessing this healthcare service."

Health Canada will allow women to use the abortion pill up to the eighth week of pregnancy, or 49 days.

"To be able to take pills to get the abortion has the potential to be a game-changer for our community," Dagg-Labine said.

The abortion pill is already being used in about 60 other countries, including the United States.

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