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CANADA, October 28, 2016 (LifeSiteNews) — Abortion advocates are pushing to ease the restrictions on the abortion drug cocktail Mifegymiso, or RU-486, imposed by Health Canada when it approved the drug last year.

According to a speculative story carried by the Canadian Press, “ongoing pressure seems to be loosening several key conditions as its expected November debut approaches.” Pro-abortion medical and pharmaceutical groups have apparently succeeded in removing the requirement that the first of the two-drug combo be taken in front of the prescribing doctor.

One sign of a restriction that “seems to be loosening” is a statement issued October 3 by Health Canada on the “approved conditions of use” for Mifegymiso, indicating that the requirement the drug be taken “under the supervision” of the physician did not mean the doctor had to be present and watching. According to the new directive, the phrase was intended “to give the prescriber the option to observe directly, delegate to another staff or to direct the patient as appropriate.”

But CP also reports that Health Canada is prepared to let pharmacists issue the abortion drug because at least one provincial doctors’ group, the B.C. College of Physicians and Surgeons, wants it to happen along with pharmacists across the country and the drug’s Canadian distributor and sponsor, Celopharma.

Celopharma is also preparing a revised application that would extend the drug’s use beyond the first seven weeks of the unborn child’s gestation to nine weeks.

Other restrictions so far are unchanged, such as the requirement the patient return to the doctor to check for bleeding and sign a consent form admitting to having been warned of the health risks and that the doctor duly informed her.

The many side effects are the reason for the restrictions, according to Health Canada, and are intended, it stated last year, to “minimize the likelihood of incorrect drug intake, and associated health risks, and support the efficacy of the product.” They follow the regimen in other countries allowing the drug be used up to seven weeks’ gestation, and the pattern followed by the three “pivotal studies” submitted by Celopharma in Canada to secure approval.

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These tests, Health Canada states, “revealed that the average bleeding time was 10.8 days, including 2 days of heavy bleeding. … The medication causes vaginal bleeding and commonly induced pain and cramping, which required pain medication in some women.”

The most common AEs reported in the study were diarrhea (59 percent), fever/chills (44 percent), nausea (31 percent), vomiting (22 percent), weakness (20 percent), headache (12 percent) and dizziness (13 percent). The most frequent severe AEs were vomiting (20 percent), fever/chills (20 percent) and headache (17 percent).

“Treatment failure (which was defined as viable pregnancy, non-viable persistent pregnancy, persistent bleeding and abdominal pain that required a surgical termination of pregnancy) was reported in 2 percent to 4.8 percent of women.”

Nonetheless, abortion advocates such as Sandeep Prasad of Action Canada for Sexual Health and Rights claim that Health Canada’s restrictions were about appeasing the pro-life lobby and not medicine. “Why should abortion medication be subject to that scrutiny? It shouldn’t be. It’s only the case because it is abortion that we’re talking about and people have problems with that, people are against it and that’s really the issue. It’s a stigmatized service and that’s really unfortunate.”

Prasad’s group would like the drug included in provincial drug plan coverage, though currently drugs are paid for only for cancer patients, seniors and those on welfare. The cost of one Mifegymiso combo is put at $300.

Mifegymiso is actually two drugs that could each alone kill an unborn child, but together have a 95 percent to 98 percent chance of “success.” The first weakens the uterine wall so that the embryo cannot attach itself and draw sustenance from the mother, and the second causes the womb to contract and expel the embryo.