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OTTAWA, April 12, 2016 (LifeSiteNews) – Mifegymiso or RU-486, the self-administered two-pill combination billed as the solution to unwanted pregnancies for women in rural and remote parts of Canada, will go into use soon under restrictions similar to those for methadone.

“The absurdity of putting access to abortion in remote areas ahead of access to cancer treatment or suicide prevention is stunning,” Johanne Brownrigg of the Campaign Life Coalition told LifeSiteNews.

Just as with methadone, only doctors specifically trained in Mifegymiso’s many dangerous side effects can prescribe the pills, and only they can communicate the prescription to pharmacists. Global News reports that the Society of Obstetricians and Gynecologists of Canada will begin offering the training on-line later this month.

Health Canada is also requiring that a woman must confirm her pregnancy via ultrasound examination before taking the two drugs, one which starves the baby to death and the other which expels her from the mother’s womb in tragic mimicry of childbirth.

Because of the risk of vaginal hemorrhage, Health Canada recommends that women who take the drug have access to specialized emergency care for 14 days after.

All these restrictions lead abortion advocates to complain that they defeat the very purpose of allowing mifegymiso, while pro-life advocates question how something so problematic can be proposed for people far removed from emergency services.

When Health Canada announced its approval of mifegymiso, actually a combination of mifeprestone and misprostol, last year, it briefly noted that “treatment failure” (persistent bleeding, abdominal pain, failure to abort) occurred  in “2% to 4.8% of women.”

In “a small number of patients” more serious problems such as pelvic infections and vaginal hemorrhages occurred, and in “rare cases,” fatalities. “Therefore,” states Health Canada’s decision summary, “access to emergency care which can provide gynecological surgical procedures, antibiotic intravenous therapy and blood transfusion … is recommended in the labelling to ensure patient’s safety.”

The product monograph also insists the prescribing doctor must:

  • Ensure that patients have access to emergency medical care in the 14 days following administration of mifepristone;
  • Schedule follow-up 7 to 14 days after patients take mifepristone to confirm complete pregnancy termination;
  • Exclude ectopic pregnancy and confirm gestational age by ultrasound;
  • Complete the mandatory Mifegymiso education and registration programs, and three others. After that are listed women with nine conditions such as uncontrolled asthma, porphyria, “hemorrhagic disorders” or conditions such as heart disorders requiring anticoagulation therapy. After several more pages of serious but rare health risks comes a table of nine common but temporary effects such as fatigue, nausea, dizziness, diarrea and vomiting.

Canadian distributor Celopharma has also agreed to provide a 24-hour patient-support line.

Winnipeg abortionist Suzanne Newman hopes for the day that mifegymiso is prescribed by telephone to northern women, with local pharmacists and nurses ensuring the patient takes the pills as directed. “That should increase access for women, rurally. Absolutely,” she told Global News.

Vicki Saporta, president of the National Abortion Federation in the U.S. and Canada, complains about the many restrictions. “There’s no evidence to support that an ultrasound is necessary to provide safe and effective medical abortion care. So it’s unfortunate that they’re making it a requirement, and may impede some women’s access to the care.” In the U.S., she added, doctors do not require special training to prescribe mifegymiso.

But Campaign Life Coalition’s Brownrigg said the risks are significant enough that the restrictions are justified. “Why are they in such a rush to get these pills into women in remote parts of Canada that they can’t do an ultrasound to actually make sure she is pregnant? To do this serious a procedure for any other condition without making sure it was necessary would not be tolerated,” she told LifeSiteNews.

She added that although the dangerous side effects were rare, “They aren’t rare to the woman who is bleeding out in the privacy of her home far from medical help.” Mifegymiso endangers the very women—those in remote parts of Canada–it is supposed to serve, argues Brownrigg.

“On top of that,” she added, “it takes the life of an unborn child.”